Issue 16-237: Quarterly Population Highlights

December 13, 2016

(Also available in PDF; associated tables are available in Excel)

B.C. Highlights

The population of B.C. was estimated at 4,773,345 as of October 1, 2016, growing by 21,733 persons in the third quarter of 2016 (up 0.5% from July 1, 2016). This is the largest third quarter growth recorded since 2009.

Combined net in-migration from all sources (inter-provincial and international) totalled 18,377 persons during the third quarter of 2016. Broken down, net interprovincial in-migration contributed 3,579 persons to population growth while net international in-migration added 14,798 persons. Finally, a natural increase (births minus deaths) of 3,356 had a positive impact on population growth in the third quarter.

The Last Twelve Months

B.C.’s total population grew by 59,584 persons (+1.3%) over the twelve months ending September 30, 2016, largely due to international and interprovincial migration. On an annual basis, births (+44,787) and interprovincial arrivals (+66,330) were the largest sources of population growth for the province. Net interprovincial migration accounted for a gain of 20,503 and net international migration added 29,924 persons from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016. Consequently, more than four in every five persons added since October 1, 2015 could be attributed to net migration from all sources (+50,427). The remainder was due to natural increase (+9,157).

National Overview

The population of Canada grew by 157,207 persons (+0.4%) to 36,443,632 during the third quarter of 2016. Leading the growth at the provincial and territorial level were Ontario (+0.6%), British Columbia (+0.5%), Manitoba (+0.4%), Prince Edward Island (+0.4%), Saskatchewan (+0.4%) and Alberta (+0.4%). With the exception of Northwest Territories, all remaining jurisdictions also experienced population increases during the third quarter.

Third Quarter International Migration

Net international in-migration to British Columbia (immigrants plus the net change in NPRs plus returning emigrants less emigrants and persons temporarily abroad) registered a net gain of 14,798 in the third quarter. Net international migration during the third quarter is typically largest compared to other quarters. This was no exception in 2016, when 33% more persons entered British Columbia compared to the same quarter in 2015. This third quarter gain is mainly driven by a stronger net-inflow of NPRs, +9,721 compared to +2,948 during the same period in the previous year. In addition, the total number of immigrants arriving in British Columbia from July 1 to September 30 was substantial at 7,821 in total. As for persons leaving B.C. for international destinations, an estimated 3,666 left on a permanent basis and 1,630 were away temporarily in the third quarter of 2016.

Third Quarter Interprovincial Migration

British Columbia ranked second only to Ontario as a province or territory that received population from other Canadian jurisdictions in the third quarter of 2016. In B.C. an inflow of 17,617 persons was offset by an outflow of 14,038 for a net population gain of 3,579. British Columbia’s net exchange with Alberta was positive, with an estimated 2,420 more persons leaving Alberta for B.C. than those going to Alberta. In addition, B.C. reported positive net in-migration from Manitoba (+ 887) as well as positive gains from most other jurisdictions. Ontario was the highest net recipient in the third quarter of 2016 with a net gain of 11,591 interprovincial migrants.

Did You Know?

Statistics Canada recently reported that "Canadians' overwhelming response enabled the 'best ever' Census in 2016". The overall collection response rate of 98.4 per cent for the 2016 Census of Population is higher than for both the 2011 and 2006 Census programs.

As part of the 2016 Census, some Canadian households received the mandatory long form (or National Household Survey). This form asks questions about a broad range of household properties, including some information about the mobility of the respondents. This information provides some indication of how the population within Canada and its provinces/territories have changed over the last year or since the last census. When viewing the quarterly population changes in this document, it is clear that movement within Canada's borders - or interprovincial migration, as well as international migration play a significant part in how the population evolves over time.