Monday, March 6, 2017

Latest census data shows Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy is working

Statistics Canada recently started to release data from the 2016 Census. Metro Vancouver —the regional district— will be releasing information that incorporates this latest census data throughout the year. The following topics are scheduled for release:

  • Population/Housing Growth – April
  • Dynamics of Our Aging Population – July
  • Housing Choices – September
  • Agricultural in the Region – September
  • Ethnocultural Diversity – December

Metro Vancouver staff have put together a “first impressions” report from the first release of 2016 Census data. Metro Vancouver is still the third largest region in Canada, but when it comes to absolute population growth, other regions are starting to grow faster. For example, Metro Vancouver prior to the 2016 census grew faster* than Calgary or Edmonton. This time around Calgary added 178,000 people, Edmonton added 162,000 people, and Metro Vancouver added 150,000 people.

Metro Vancouver staff also noted that the population in the Abbotsford-Mission area has increased by 10,300 between 2011 and 2016. This is consistent with the growth from 2006 through 2011. Staff noted that “there has not been a significant shifting of population growth from Metro Vancouver to the Fraser Valley over the past five years.”

Census data shows that Metro Vancouver has the third highest population density of Canada’s major metropolitan areas at 855 people per square kilometre. Our region includes both the Agricultural Land Reserve and the North Score mountains. When looking at the areas in our regional that are designated General Urban and Rural in the Regional Growth Strategy, the population density is actual 3,130 people per square kilometre which is closer to the population density of the Island of Montreal.

One of the important goals of Metro Vancouver is to build a compact region that protects and preserves our green spaces. 80% of all population growth between 2011 and 2016 was infill growth within existing urban areas. In Toronto, 55% of population growth was infill, and in Calgary that number was only 25%. Metro Vancouver continues to set an example of how to grow with less sprawl.

About 50% of new housing was within walking distance of TransLink’s Frequent Transit Network.

Population in Metro Vancouver municipalities from 2006 to 2016. Select table to enlarge.

In our sub-regions, the South of Fraser accommodated 45% of population growth between 2011 and 2016. The Tri-Cities accommodated 12% of population growth, Ridge Meadows 5%, and the North Shore 4%. The remaining part of the region absorbed 35% of population growth.

For more information including the percent of total dwellings occupied, and average persons per occupied household, read the full report in the latest Regional Planning Committee agenda starting on page 140.

*the prior three census periods.

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