British Columbia’s population is about to hit 5 million thanks in large part to international migration. Ken Kelly/DVBA handout

Provincial population about to hit the 5-million mark

British Columbia’s population stood at 4,991,687 as of July 1, 2018.

British Columbia’s population is about to crack the 5-million mark and it is international migrants driving that growth.

According to B.C. Statistics, the provincial population grew almost 0.5 per cent between April 1 and July 1, reaching 4,991,687 as of July 1. International arrivals accounted for most of the growth during the second quarter, ahead of inter-provincial in-migration and natural increase.

RELATED: B.C population grows by 5.6 per cent: census

Natural increase (births minus deaths) accounted for 1,987 additional British Columbians during the second quarter, while residents from other provinces added 4,102 people on balance.

Net international migration, however, added 18,223 persons to British Columbia’s population during the second quarter of 2018.

In Greater Victoria, figures from 2017 peg its population at 374,807 — up 1.2 per cent from the previous year.

Looking at the national picture, Canada’s population grew by an estimated 168,687 people, up some 0.46 per cent to 37,058,856 during the second quarter of 2018, a higher growth than in the same quarter of 2017.

This graph shows how international migration and natural increase (births minus deaths) contribute to Canada’s overall population. Statistics Canada
Nunavut, up 1.30 per cent, Yukon, up 0.97 per cent, Prince Edward Island, up 0.81 per cent, Ontario, up 0.54 per cent, and British Columbia, up 0.49 per cent, led territories and provinces in population growth.

All remaining jurisdictions with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador and Northwest Territories also observed population growth in the second quarter.

RELATED: VIDEO: Seniors outnumber kids in B.C., says Stats Can

As the case in British Columbia, international migration drove population growth in all provinces that posted a population gain, and in Yukon.

These figures — while snapshots of a specific period — underscore larger trends shaping population growth in British Columbia, as well as Canada.

International migration remains the “main driver” of Canada’s population, according to Statistics Canada.

Natural growth, meanwhile, is stagnating. While the number of births during the second quarter of 2018 was the second highest since 1995, the number of deaths also hit a high level.

“In the coming years, natural increase is expected to continue decreasing, mainly as a result of population aging which results in an increase in the number of deaths each year,” reads the Stats Canada report.

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com


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