Issue 17-60: Quarterly Population Highlights

March 23, 2017

B.C. Highlights

The population of B.C. was estimated at 4,777,157 as of January 1, 2017, growing by 3,812 persons in the last quarter of 2016 (up 0.08% from October 1, 2016).

Combined net in-migration from all sources (inter-provincial and international) totalled 2,632 persons during the fourth quarter of 2016, the largest fourth quarter net migration in the last five years. Broken down, net interprovincial in-migration contributed 3,292 persons to population growth while net international in-migration subtracted 660 persons, due to a decline in non-permanent residents (NPRs). Finally, a natural increase (births minus deaths) of 1,180 had a positive impact on population growth in the fourth quarter, though lower than in the same quarter of the previous year.

The Last Twelve Months

B.C.’s total population grew by 61,598 persons (+1.3%) over the twelve months ending December 31, 2016, largely due to international and interprovincial migration. On an annual basis, births (+44,998) and interprovincial arrivals (+65,512) were the largest sources of population growth for the province. Net interprovincial migration accounted for a gain of 20,026 and net international migration added 32,912 persons from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016. More than four in every five persons added since January 1, 2016 could be attributed to net migration from all sources (+52,938). The remainder was due to natural increase (+8,660).

National Overview

The population of Canada grew by 59,465 persons (+0.16%) to 36,503,097 during the fourth quarter of 2016, a lower growth than in the previous quarter. Leading the growth at the provincial and territorial level were Nunavut (+0.36%), Manitoba (+0.33%), Alberta (+0.26%), Saskatchewan (+0.25%) and Ontario (+0.22%). With the exception of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, all remaining jurisdictions also experienced population increases during the fourth quarter.

Fourth 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 loss of 660 in the fourth quarter. This compares to a larger net loss of 3,648 in the fourth quarter of 2015. Although the total number of immigrants arriving in British Columbia from October 1 to December 31 was substantial at 7,163, it was offset by a net loss in NPRs of 3,640. In comparison, a much larger net NPR loss of 8,311 occurred during the same quarter of 2015. As for persons leaving B.C. for international destinations, an estimated 3,707 left on a permanent basis and 1,365 were away temporarily in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Fourth Quarter Interprovincial Migration

British Columbia ranked second only to Ontario as a province or territory that received population from other Canadian jurisdictions in the fourth quarter of 2016. In B.C., an inflow of 10,096 persons was offset by an outflow of 6,804 for a net population gain of 3,292. British Columbia’s net exchange with Alberta was positive, with an estimated 1,913 more persons leaving Alberta for B.C. than those going to Alberta. In addition, B.C. reported positive net in-migration from Saskatchewan (+343) and Manitoba (+307) as well as positive gains from most other jurisdictions. Ontario was the highest net recipient in the fourth quarter of 2016 with a net gain of 3,983 interprovincial migrants.