Greater Victoria is aging while it is growing, having crossed the threshold of 400,000 people as of July 1, 2019. (Twitter/Greater Victoria Harbour Authority)

Migration drives Greater Victoria’s population growth

Region surpasses 400,000 population despite seeing more deaths than births

  • Feb. 18, 2020 12:00 a.m.

Foreign arrivals were the largest source of new residents in Greater Victoria as its population rose by 1.5 per cent to 402,271 as of July 1, 2019.

Of the 6,161 new residents, who moved to Victoria between July 1, 2018 and July 1, 2019, 2,545 counted as net migrants from foreign countries. Another 2,202 arrived in Greater Victoria from other parts of the province, while another 2,160 arrived from other parts of Canada for a total number of 6,907 people with new addresses in Greater Victoria. But the number of people who died in Greater Victoria outstripped the number of newborns by 746.

In fact, Greater Victoria’s population growth has depended almost entirely on new arrivals during the last decade, as the number of deaths has outstripped the number of newborns every year since 2008/09.

The figures show the region’s population growth slowing down. Since 2007/08, Greater Victoria has gained 62,578 new residents for an average of 4,813 per year. But this growth has come with peaks and valleys.

RELATED: International migration drives population rise in B.C.

After steady, but unspectacular growth between 2007 and 2010, 2011 marked a low point with just 900 new residents. Population growth then shot up between 2012 and 2015 to around 5,000 per year, peaking in 2016 with 8,596 new residents. Growth has since returned to a level comparable to the period between 2012 and 2015.

The source of new residents has also fluctuated. Whereas individuals from other parts of British Columbia made up the largest group of new arrivals for 10 out of 13 available years, international arrivals dominated the years starting in 2011 and 2013. They also represented the largest group, albeit by smaller margins, in 2019.

Greater Victoria is also getting older. Whereas seniors (individuals aged 65-plus) made up 17.3 per cent of the population in 2007, their share of the population now stands at 21.4 per cent. Whereas individuals under age 14 made up 13.6 per cent in 2007, their share has dropped to 12.4 per cent. The share of individuals aged 15 to 64 dropped to 66.2 per cent in 2019, compared to 69.1 per cent in 2007.

Greater Victoria, in other words, is aging as it is growing, and it would actually be shrinking if it were not attracting residents from other parts of the province and around the world.


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