Vernon population growth slows, lags behind provincial average

Population growth in Vernon is slowing but construction still steams ahead.

VERNON - The growth of Vernon's population slowed in 2018 dropping below the provincial average for the first time in several years.

The city saw its population grow by 1.2 per cent in 2018, slower than the overall growth of B.C. at 1.4 per cent. The population of Vernon currently sits at 42,574.

For the five previous years, the city typically grew faster than the province. In 2014 and 2015 the population grow by 2.6 per cent each year, compared to the provincial rate of 1.7 per cent in 2014 and 1.5 per cent in 2015.

City of Vernon manager of economic development and tourism Kevin Poole said the while population growth is slowing, all other factors show a strong growth rate. Residential building permits issued by the city have shown steady growth each year since 2012, with almost triple the number of permits given out in 2018 compared to 2012. The City issued $148.8 million of building permits in 2018 with 78 per cent being for residential units.

With unemployment hovering at just above six per cent, its lowest in several years, and the city's vacancy rate sitting at 1.5  per cent, Poole says all indicators show solid growth in the city. He says the slower population growth is probably due to the city having a large baby boomer population. Although Poole says he doesn't have the exact stats, data from 2010 to 2015 shows Vernon's death rate to be higher than its birth rate. There are more people dying than there are people having babies. The stats Poole says are similar to other communities with large baby boomer populations and highlight the reality that for growth to continue in communities they will need to look to attract people from within Canada and elsewhere.

The cities of Armstrong, Coldstream, Enderby, Lumby and Spallumcheen all saw their population grow at a slower pace than the provincial average. The Regional District of North Okanagan population grew by 1.5 per cent, 0.1 per cent above the provincial average.


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