Kelowna, Kamloops among three fastest-growing larger cities in Canada, new census data shows | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna, Kamloops among three fastest-growing larger cities in Canada, new census data shows

The Kelowna area grew faster than any other metropolitan area between 2016 and 2021.

The Kelowna area led the country in growth at 14% according to the 2021 Census, released by Statistics Canada today, Feb. 9.

Kamloops was third at 10% with Chilliwack second at 12.1%.

This ranking is based on Census Metropolitan Areas which are cities and surrounding areas with more than 100,000 people.

In the 2016 census, there were 35 such areas. For 2021, that grew by six with Kamloops one of three B.C. cities added (Chilliwack and Nanaimo being the others).

The Kelowna area now has an official May 11, 2021 population of 222,162, up from 194,892 in 2016, an increase of 27,270.

The Kamloops CMA is 114,142, up from 103,811, adding 10,331.

Almost 74% of Canada’s population lives in these 41 metropolitan areas and one-third of Canadians live in the country’s three largest cities, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

READ MORE: More than 21,000 jobs unfilled in Thompson-Okanagan

This release of data does not include all cities and towns in the country just the larger Census Metropolitan Areas and those with populations between 10,000 and 100,000, called census agglomerations.

In that category, Salmon Arm was the fastest growing in the Southern Interior at 10.1%, growing to 19,705 people from 17,904.

Vernon grew by 9.4% to 67,086 from 61,324 while Penticton rose by 8.8% to 47,380 from 43,534.

West Kelowna was not included in the release since it’s part of the Kelowna metropolitan area.

Squamish topped the list of fastest growing cities in this classification at 21.8%, bringing its population to 24,232.

Overall, Canada grew by 5.2% to 36,991,981 in 2021 from 35,151,728 in 2016, making it the fastest growing country of the G7 and seventh amongst G20 countries, the Statistics Canada report says.

That added 1.8 million people to the country, with 80% of the growth coming through immigration and mostly from 2016 to 2019. Immigration dropped during the COVID pandemic but has since returned to pre-pandemic levels, the report says.

READ MORE: Building permits show how Thompson-Okanagan communities weathered the pandemic

Canada’s rate of natural increase fell to 0.1% from 0.3% in 2016 but it’s not expected to become negative (more deaths than births) in the next 50 years as is the case in countries like Italy and Japan.

B.C. grew by 7.6% to 5,000,879 from 4,648,055. It was the second fastest growing province, behind Prince Edward Island at 8%, raising it to a population of 154,331.

Ontario grew by 5.8% to 14,223,942 and Quebec by 4.1% to 8,501,833. Alberta grew by 4.8% to 4,262,635.

For the first time since the 1940s the Maritimes grew faster than the Prairie provinces.

The Yukon was the fastest growing of any province or territory at 12.1%. It has a population of 40,232.

Newfoundland and Labrador was the only province whose population declined during the census period, dropping 1.8% to 510,550.

The census report can be seen here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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