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Kelowna, B.C. the fastest growing metropolitan area in Canada

Click to play video: 'Kelowna, B.C. the fastest growing CMA in Canada'
Kelowna, B.C. the fastest growing CMA in Canada
Kelowna is the fastest growing Census Metropolitan Area in Canada, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada – Feb 9, 2022

Kelowna is the fastest growing Census Metropolitan Area in Canada, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada.

The Census, which was released by Statistics Canada Wednesday, shows that Kelowna’s population grew to 222,162 in 2021. That’s an increase of 14 per cent from 2016.

In the 2016 census the population of the Kelowna CMA, which spans from Peachland to Lake Country, was 194,892, while in 2011 it was 179,839.

Within the Central Okanagan, the District of Lake Country has seen the highest percentage growth, according to Statistics Canada. Listed among 25 municipalities with the highest rate of population growth, Lake Country had 22.4 per cent growth since 2016, raising its population to 15,817.

Click to play video: 'What you need to know about Census 2021'
What you need to know about Census 2021

In addition to the Central Okanagan’s growth, the province as a whole saw significant change.

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The 2021 census marked the first time that the population of B.C. exceeded five million people, rising 7.6 per cent to 5,000,879.

B.C. was also the lone province in Western Canada that exceeded the national average of 5.2 per cent.

Read more: Canadian population growing at fastest rate in G7 despite COVID, census shows

It was also the lone province in Western Canada that saw more people move into the province from elsewhere in Canada than move out from 2016 to 2021, with interprovincial migration gains plus 97,424, reaching their highest level since 1991 to 1996.

Including Kelowna, which is at the top of the list, four of the top five fastest growing CMAs are in B.C.:

  • Chilliwack, B.C. was ranked second for growth of 12 per cent, raising its population to 113,767
  • Kamloops was third, for growth of 10 per cent since 2016. It now has a population of 114,142
  • London, Ont., was fourth and its population grew by 10 per cent.
  • Nanaimo was fifth with 10 per cent growth, raising the population to 115,459.

Statistics Canada says the national population almost hit 37 million last year, growing at the fastest rate among G7 nations.

Click to play video: 'Canada had fastest population growth among G7 countries between 2016 and 2021'
Canada had fastest population growth among G7 countries between 2016 and 2021

After leading the provinces in population growth for five consecutive censuses, Alberta ranked sixth in 2021, behind Prince Edward Island, B.C., Ontario, Nova Scotia and Manitoba.

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Similar to Canada overall, StatCan said immigration was the main driver of population growth in Western Canada. However, international migration levels have changed little in Western Canada since the last intercensal period, unlike in most other provinces, where they rose significantly prior to the pandemic. StatCan said this partially explains why Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta no longer lead the provinces in population growth.

READ MORE: Survey shows these Canadian cities have lost green spaces amid urbanization

Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan also all saw more people move out of the province than move in from other parts of Canada against a backdrop of lower oil prices that started in 2014 and higher unemployment, especially in Alberta, the national statistics agency said.

For Alberta, this marked the first decline in interprovincial migration over a five-year census period since 1986 to 1991.

Statistics Canada says the main reason for the slowdown in growth was border restrictions that, while meant to slow the spread of COVID-19, also slowed the pace of newcomers arriving in Canada.

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