B.C.’s population has surpassed five million people for the first time in its history, growing at a rate of 7.6 per cent between 2016 and 2021, the latest census data from Statistics Canada shows.
The province has four of Canada’s five fastest-growing metropolitan areas — all of which are outside the Metro Vancouver region.
The Kelowna, Chilliwack, Kamloops and Nanaimo census metropolitan areas all saw growth of 10 per cent or more in between 2016 and 2021.
The province’s largest cities remain unchanged, with Vancouver in the top position followed by Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond and Abbotsford.
The information was released in Statistics Canada’s first round of 2021 census data on population and dwelling counts, information that is used by political leaders and planners to shape decision-making around their communities.
B.C.’s growth leads major provinces
British Columbia led Canada’s largest provinces in growth, its population increasing from 4,648,055 people in 2016 to 5,000,879 in 2021, a growth rate of 7.6 per cent. Only Yukon (12.1 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (4.8 per cent) grew faster, and only Ontario and Quebec had more people.
The Lower Mainland is still the most populous region in B.C., which has grown 7.7 per cent to more than three million, and contains B.C.’s five largest cities.
But the story of the census is the rapid rate of growth in B.C.’s Interior and on Vancouver Island.