New census figures show the population of Vancouver Island grew by 8.2 per cent to 864,864 between 2016 and 2021.
Among the Island’s largest metropolitan regions, the Victoria Census Metropolitan (CMA) area grew by eight per cent to 397,237. Elsewhere, the population in the Nanaimo Regional District – including Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach, Parksville and Lantzville – rose by 9.4 per cent over the five-year span to 170,367.
Of the total Island increase of 65,464 residents, Greater Victoria’s growth accounts for about 45 per cent, while Greater Nanaimo contributed about 22 per cent.
Looking at population jumps in other notable Island communities, Campbell River rose by 7.6 per cent to 35,519, Comox rose by 5.5 per cent to 14,806, Courtenay increased 10.8 per cent to 28,420 and on the west coast, Ucluelet took a 20.3-per-cent jump to 2,066 and Tofino grew by 27.9 per cent to 2,516.
Vancouver Island, like Canada, is experiencing greater growth in more urban areas, while many rural or resource based communities tend to be losing population.
Consider Port Hardy, which dropped 5.6 per cent from its 2016 total and sits at 3,902. Other smaller communities have also seen stagnating or little population growth, including nearby Port McNeill, which saw growth of 0.8 per cent to 2,356.
The population increases in smaller communities just outside the two major urban regions of Greater Victoria and Greater Nanaimo line with up recent property assessment figures across many of those same communities.
As housing prices in Greater Victoria and Greater Nanaimo have continued to rise in recent years, buyers have looked elsewhere, as evident by rising sales and assessment in those communities.
As a whole, Vancouver Island now accounts for 17.2 per cent of the provincial population of just over five million.
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