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British Columbia Population: Citizens vs Immigrants

British Columbia’s population is growing, but people are curious whether or not this growth is driven by immigration.

Similar to popular cities in Atlantic Canada, British Columbia population is growing year-over-year. According to Statcan’s report estimates of Q3-2021, BC population has a population of 5,214,805 people, accounting for 13.6 percent of the Canada’s population (38,246,108). Studies has shown that the province is the third most populated city in Canada.

British Columbia Population is growing

According to 2016 Canada census, population of British Columbia was 4,648,055 against 4,400,057 in 2011 and the percentage change is 5.6%.

The age group of 0-14 years is 691,390 15-64 years is 3,107,680 65 years is 848,985 and 85years and above is 109,190. The breakdown of BC’s population by age groups indicate that the province has a vibrant workforce and young population to sustain the economy.

As British Columbia heads into the third decade of the century with an estimated population of over 5.2 million people, jobs and quality of life of people living in BC are expected to continue to increase.

BC Economy: where do people in BC work?

British Columbia’s capital city is Victoria, which is also one of the top 10 biggest cities in Canada. Furthermore, BC is one of the richest provinces in Canada with a lot of Asian presence and vibrant economy that is driven by forestry, mining, tourism and cinematography.

In addition, British Columbia economy is diverse with service producing industries accounting for the largest portion of the province GDP. People living in British Columbia work in these industries.

Location and size of British Columbia

British Columbia is one of the ten provinces in Canada located in west side of Canada with area size of 922,503 km. The province is the westernmost province of Canada, which borders Yukon to the North and the Northwest Territories.

Beautiful British Columbia

The land area of British Columbia is 922,509.29 square kilometers with a population density of 4.8 persons per square kilometers. Vancouver Island became part of the colony of British Columbia and Victoria became the united colony’s capital.

Population of Immigrants in BC

Immigration to British Columbia has been one of the most important contributing factors to its growth over the past century. British Columbia has a large number of immigrants having lived in the province for 30 years or less.

Number of immigrants to British Columbia from 2001- 2020.
                                  Period / Years Number of immigrants
    2000-2001        39,543
    2001-2002        38,024
    2002-2003        31,924
    2003-2004         36,712
    2004-2005         40,577
    2005-2006         43,846
    2006-2007         37,811
    2007-2008         43,220
    2008-2009         42,375
    2009-2010         43,871
    2010-2011         38,947
    2011-2012         36,250
    2012-2013         35,738
    2013-2014          37,520
    2014-2015          31,672
    2015-2016          43,242
    2016-2017          35,397
    2017-2018          41,916
    2018-2019          43,135
    2019-2020          44,899

As seen in the table above, the population of immigrants in British Columbia follows an upward trend, with record 14% growth since the early 2000’s.

 10 largest cities in British Columbia by Population.

  1. Vancouver
  2. Surrey
  3. Burnaby
  4. Richmond
  5. Abbotsford
  6. Coquitlam
  7. Kelowna
  8. Langley Township
  9. Saanich
  10.  Delta

#1. Vancouver

It is the most populated city in British Columbia with a population of 631,486. It is ranked as one of the world livable cities.

The city of Vancouver is a coastal seaport city and it is located on Canada’s western-most pacific shores of BC.

Another name for Vancouver is a “city of neighborhoods” because it has several neighborhoods with different ethnic groups.

More so, Vancouver is known for its high- rise surrounded by beautiful nature, which makes it the eighth largest city in Canada.

Vancouver is known for its unique development plan called “Vancouverism” which refers to high- rise building separated by low- level structures.

Additionally, festivals bring culture to the city during summer including the Queer Arts Festival, and the Vancouver International Jazz festival.

#2. Surrey

Surrey is the second biggest city in BC with a population of 517,887. It comprises of urban and significant agricultural and rural areas.

In the last two census, its populations grew by 49,636 people, an average growth rate of 2.12% per year from 2011 to 2016.

The population of Surrey consists of 68.04% in the working age group while 26.27% consists of younger population.

Majority of the population speaks English only, making up 88.94 per cent of the population.

Surrey is one of the fastest growing, culturally diverse cities in British Columbia. The city supports active living with variety of parks.

The economy generates a wide range of stable jobs for residents and immigrants. It is good place to live for a lower cost of living.

Furthermore, Surrey supports a stable tax base to fund essential community service and provide a wide access to consumer goods.

It is one of the biggest industrial centers in the province and features agriculture, clean energy, education and more.

Surrey is a multicultural city in British Columbia. The city also has multiple community centers, shopping malls, pubic parks and so on.

#3. Burnaby

It is the third largest city in British Columbia with a population of 232,755. The city is located east of Vancouver.

The population is growing at a rate of 1.33% per year over the past 15 years from 2001 to 2016.

In the last two census, its populations grew by 9,537 people, an average growth rate of 0.85% per year from 2011 to 2016.

The population consists of 70.81% in the working age group while 18.86% consists of younger population.

Majority of the population speaks English only, making up 87.77 per cent of the population.

Urban parks in Burnaby are excellent for running or biking. Some of the popular parks include Burnaby Lake, Deer Lake.

The Burnaby village heritage museum provides an excellent cultural experience for immigrants and residents.

Furthermore, Burnaby has the largest shopping mall, theaters show- casing plays and musicals, restaurants and more.

#4. Richmond

Richmond is the fourth largest city in British Columbia with a population of 198,309. The city is located on Canada’s pacific coast.

The population consists of 60.18% in the working age group while 20.3% consists of the younger population.

The economy generates over 126,000 jobs for residents and immigrants in various sectors including services, retailing, and aviation.

Majority of the population speaks English only, making up 66.59 per cent of the population.

#5. Abbotsford

Abbotsford is the fifth largest city in British Columbia with a population of 141,397.The city is located near the Fraser River.

Its population is growing at a rate of 1.5% per year over the past 15 years.

The population consists of 64.75% in the working age group while 28.39% consist of the younger population.

Majority of the population is between the ages 30 to 34 years old, comprising 6.92 per cent of the population.

Furthermore, majority of the population speaks English only, making up 89.89 per cent of the population.

It is a city with diverse demography, availability of land, affordability benefits.

The city offers easy access to numerous regional parks including Cascade Falls Regional Parks, Thompson Parks, Thacker Parks and so on.

Furthermore, Abbotsford is one of the top choices for families who wish to relocate due to high quality educational system.

#6. Coquitlam

Coquitlam is the sixth largest city in British Columbia with a population of 139,284. It is located in the lower mainland of BC.

The population of Coquitlam, BC is growing at a rate of 1.56% per year.

Its populations grew by 12,480 people an average growth rate of 1.97% per year from 2011 to 2016.

The population consists of 70.12% in the working age group while 22.76% consists of the younger population.

Additionally, majority of the population speaks English only, making up 88.72 per cent of the population.

The city has many offers which includes sampling food, shopping and entertainment.

Easy access to vehicles in Coquitlam gives you full view of urban amenities and recreation opportunities to keep you busy.

West Coquitlam has an extensive collection of one or two bedroom homes with ample space to grow different crops.

In addition, residents who prefer to take a night off from cooking can have access to enticing dishes as the city provides enough options.

#7. Kelowna

Kelowna is the seventh largest city in British Columbia with a population of 127,380. It is located in Okanagan region.

The economy depends on the marketing and distribution of its thriving tree fruit industry

The top five employment sectors in the city includes energy, life sciences, engineering and construction, financial services.

 #8. Langley Township

Langley Township is the eight largest city in British Columbia with a population of 117,285. It is located in the Southwest of BC.

The city is rich in heritage and rural beauty as it is equally one of the most vibrant   municipalities in British Columbia.

The city is well known for its distinctive retail offerings and eateries.

#9. Saanich

Saanich is the ninth largest city in British Columbia with a population of 114,148. It is located at the southern tip of Vancouver. The population of Saanich, BC is growing at a rate of 0.67% per year.

Saanich population consists of 65.64% in the working age group while 20.7% consists of the younger population.

Majority of the population speaks English only, making up 89.55 per cent of the population.

The city supports local businesses, generates revenue, and contributes to a diversified economy.

Saanich creates 3,140 job opportunities in manufacturing industries, transportation, logistics, warehousing and construction.

 #10. Delta

Delta is the tenth largest city in British Columbia with a population of 102,238. It is located in Vancouver regional district. The city is one of the best place for retirement and for new immigrants.

Additionally, Delta has a good recreational center in the North Delta Recreational Center Complex.

Delta has beautiful parks and scenic trails for working, hiking, biking, skating and horse riding.

British Columbia population by religion

There are various religion in British Columbia some of which include Christianity, Sikh, Buddhist, Islam, Hindu, Jewish, and so on.

According to the 2011 census, Christians has 1,930,415 (44.6%), Irreligion (atheist, agnostic) with 1,908,285 (44.1%) Islam with 79,310 (1.8%).

British Columbia population by region

The province of British Columbia has 6 regions; Vancouver Island, Northern BC, Kootenay Rockies, Okanagan, Vancouver Mountains and Chilcotin.

Vancouver Island was 846,278 as of 2020; Northern BC was 500,000 Kootenay Rockies was 202,769 Okanagan was 222,748 Chilcotin 345,786.

FAQs about BC's Population

What is the population of British Columbia 2020?

The population of British Columbia as at 2020 was 5,147,712.

What is the population of BC in 2021?

Statcan reported that 5,214,805 currently live in British Columbia. 44,899 out of the current BC populations are immigrants.

Is British Columbia highly populated?

Yes, British Columbia is the 3rd most populous province in Canada (5,214,805) after Ontario (14,826,276) and Quebec (8,604,495). The population of British Columbia is growing approximately by 5% every year due to immigration.

Population of Canadian Provinces and Territories (2020-21)
Province or TerritoryQ3 2020Q4 2020Q1 2021Q2 2021Q3 2021
Nunavut3915539109392553933639403
Yukon4217442300423444258642986
Northwest Territories4537245265453234562945504
Prince Edward Island161329161402161514162596164318
Newfoundland and Labrador521364520194519664519693520553

Is British Columbia a good place to live?

With a thriving healthcare system, great jobs and low crime rates, British Columbia is a  peaceful / fantastic place to live for immigrants and citizens. It is also one of Canada’s most beautiful provinces and with gorgeous weather too.