Population Change in BC between 2006 and 2011
by William Warren Munroe, February 8, 2012

Statistics Canada released the 2011 census total population and dwelling counts today.

Between the 2006 census 2011 census, BCs total population count increased by about 300,000 people to approximately 4,400,000. While some areas experienced population increase, some areas in BC had a decline in population.

Figure 1. Population Change between 2006 and 2011 for BC Regional Districts

Figure 1 shows the population increased most in the high density, southern regions while the population declined in the far North of the province. Most Regional Districts had increases; Only the Northwest, Mount Waddington, Northern Rockies, and Fraser Ft. George RDs showed a decline in population. For a comparison, see the Population Change in BC between 2001 and 2006

The total population counts from the census don't tell us why the population changed, whether the increases are due to more births than deaths, and/or more in-migration than out-migration.

However, with annual administrative data (Vital Statistics), we can see there are more deaths than births for many areas in BC, leaving positive net migration (more in than out) to account for the population growth in many regions. The Northern portion of the province has had a history of high births relative to deaths; therefore, the declines in population there are likely a result of more out-migration than in-migration. ( Map of Natural Change in BC for 2009/2010).

Within the Regional Districts, the 2011 Census provides insight into internal variation, to the municipal and unorganized area level.

The May 29, 2012 release of the age and sex of the population from the 2011 census will provide a better understanding of the change in the age distribution. Comparing the previous censuses can show the influence of net migration by age group. See examples of Population Signatures.

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