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October 27, 2017 6:59 pm

P.G.’s Population is Up

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 @ 9:09 AM

Prince George, B.C.- The population in Prince George  has gown by 2.8%  since 2011. That’s according to the  latest Census taken in May of 2016.  

The growth is great news for Prince George,  which now boasts a population of  74,003, up from the  71,974 recorded  in the 2011 Census.  First and foremost, it means Prince George will get  more in transfer payments  “That’s a big part of  this increase” says Mayor Lyn Hall “Transfer payments are based on population  so when we see  an increase of  two thousand,  that reflects in an increase in our transfer payments from the Feds, which is  a huge part of this story.”

Mayor Hall said  he was cautiously optimistic that the  Census would show growth in Prince George,  because of the level of activity  the City has been seeing “I was anticipating  we would see an increase because of what we’ve seen in 2016 from everything that’s going on in the City.  You know, people have said to me,  the City just  seems busier, there seems to be more  traffic, more action, and activity  around the City.”

Transfer payments  aside,   Mayor  Lyn Hall  says  the  increase  is a positive  check mark  for Prince George ” It reinforces what we’ve been doing  from an investment perspective, It reinforces the confidence  from the private sector in our City as a result of $122 million dollars in private sector investment last year,  and I think it  strengthens our position when it comes to people looking at   a City of Choice,  we have  all the amenities, the population is strong and I think   it Just lends to all of those factors.   I think it will help to attract and retain  folks to Prince George,   and it will certainly help us from  an investment perspective when people  see that we’ve had  a good year economically last year, the population has increased by two thousand, it bodes well for us.”

Provincially,  B.C.’s  population was up  5.6% from the previous census  in 2011.  That’s higher than the national average  of 1.0%  per year over the same time frame.

Nationally, the population of Canada   is now 35,151,728,  ten times greater than  in 1871 when the first Census was conducted.


Even something as straight forward as Prince George’s population statistics has become confusing, based on BC Government statistics, our population fell by 1,958 (2.7%) in 2015, from the previous year. Does this now mean Prince George has climbed back up to its 2014 population level?

“The city’s population has decreased, according to the latest estimate from B.C. Stats, leaving Prince George mayor Lyn Hall both surprised and disappointed. As of July 1, 2015, the city’s population stood at 71,363 people, down 1,958 or 2.7 per cent from the year before, the agency said in a release this week.”

ht tp://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/news/local-news/prince-george-is-shrinking-1.2161595

    it means the population is up 2.8% from the previous Census.

    BC Stats between census is an estimate based on a number of factors, census is more of a head count. Those who don’t fill out the census form and return it are costing others in the city money in the form of higher taxes and fees

Works out to an increase of roughly 405 people per year over the 5 year period from 2011 to 2015.

I suspect the difference is due to methodologies. From what I understand, BC Stats uses census data but then adjusts it to factor in other criteria that they see as being useful to arrive at their population counts. Regardless, it is good to see the population counts on the rise.

One interesting “big picture” observation from the census data is the continued growth in medium to large urban centres across the country.

Roughly one third of Canadians live in greater Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal. Toronto by itself accounts for roughly 15% of Canada’s population. The data also shows that rural areas adjacent to big centres are growing at a faster rate than rural areas that are more isolated. Rural populations are also aging at a faster rate than urban centres, which generally speaking, have been shown to be more attractive for younger persons and immigrants.

I can’t help but imagine that these trends will continue and that it will be tougher and tougher for cities like PG to not only maintain their growth, but to try and keep up with the growth rates of larger centres. Growing at 2% is good, but if other areas are growing at 5-10%, then you’re still falling behind. This makes it more challenging to attract investment, infrastructure spending, etc.

Interesting times for sure.

I have been looking for the 2016 Stats Can census populations for the smaller communities in the Prince George’s regional hub, to confirm lower population numbers. My theory is; with the recent closures of Endako Mine, Huckleberry Mine, sawmill closures in Quesnel, Houston, etc. people are leaving economically depressed rural small towns in the area and are moving to Prince George.

At any rate, I agree with you NMG, interesting times indeed.

I have been looking for the 2016 Stats Can census populations for the smaller communities in the Prince George’s regional hub, to confirm lower population numbers. My theory is; with the recent closures of Endako Mine, Huckleberry Mine, sawmill closures in Quesnel, Houston, etc. people are leaving economically depressed rural small towns in the area and are moving to Prince George.

At any rate, I agree with you NMG, interesting times indeed.

Well, If the ivory tower in the shadow of hill figures it out. Paying the revamped Initiatives PG a large sum of money, for what. How about they focus on getting more resource and technology based business’s into Prince George, instead dwelling on tourism. Get good jobs with good money, and maybe people will move to Prince George.

All we need is 5 families moving into Prince George every week. and before you know it, 250 new families move in. We get 600-700 people a year. Wake up Ivory tower, the baby boomers are retiring, we need people to replace them. These are the young men and women that moved up here in the late 60’s.

Get into technology, sell them our outdoor life style. Get young smart men and women to choose Prince George as a good place to raise a family.

It’s possible PG could begin to see a small amount of real-estate refugees moving into the area. Right now that effect is being felt primarily on VI, the Sunshine Coast and the Okanagan, yet these areas are seeing rapid increases in prices which could in-turn push the effect further out.

Good/bad, depending on your position.

    I’ll take the view that this is good! Would rather here this announcement than one saying that our population has dropped!

Vanderhoof: 2016: 4,439 2011: 4,480 Population decline: -41
Fort St. James: 2016: 1,598 2011: 1,691 Population decline: -93
Fraser Lake: 2016: 988 2011: 1,167 Population decline: -179
Burns Lake: 2016: 1,779 2011: 2,029 Population decline: -250
Houston: 2016: 2,993 2011: 3,147 Population decline: -154
Quesnel: 2016: 9,879 2011: 10,007 Population decline: -128
Williams Lake: 2016: 18,277 2011:18,490 Population decline: -213
Chetwynd: 2016: 2,503 2011: 2,635 Population decline: -132
Valemount: 2016: 1,020 2011: 1,021 Population decline: -1
McBride: 2016: 616 2011: 586 Population increase: +30
Mackenzie: 2016: 3,714 2011: 3,507 Population increase: +207

Only Mackenzie and McBride bucked population outflows from the region’s rural communities. This overall out-migration of people from the region does not bode well for Prince George in the near future, as this City has always been a “regional hub” for supplying goods and services to the region. When the region starts hurting, Prince George is bound to follow! All of this is just my opinion of course.

ht tp://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/index-eng.cfm

Quesnel is advertising itself as a retirement community! Prince George could do the same! Time to explore all the angles, especially the facts that we have a regional university hospital here, doctors and specialists and cancer clinic. A lot of our shopping is concentrated in one large mall and other stores are easily accessible, no need to drive all over the place like for instance in Kelowna!

Yay more transfer payment = less property taxes… … … ?

    In theory that is the way it is suppose to work slinky.

    Just for the record; what was a mature, intelligent discussion about Prince George and region’s population statistics, starts to deteriorate at 2:53 pm with isthisreallife’s comment. So where will this discussion thread end up? Depends on who chimes in and where they take it… I am going to grab some popcorn, sit back and watch.

Um, how many Syrians did we get?

    I believe 5 families currently live here that came from Syria

Depending on whose census you go by Federal, Provincial or city each and everyone has a different account of how many people actually live within the city limits it also does not factor in how many people that worked in Alberta that came back to PG as the Alberta economy was just dropping in May when the census occurred and that also had a positive effect on our local population so I would not be surprised if there was closer to 80,000 in the city.

    Yours is another one of those uninformed remarks or, as they say these days, “alternate facts” made up solely based on an individual belief system.

    FACT = There is only one census and that is the one conducted by the Government of Canada every 5 years these days. The province has “estimated” numbers which they base on some other indirect indicators rather than an actual count. The City has no estimate of their own.

    ALTERNATE FACT = As can be seen from your post, there are plenty of people, such as yourself, who have estimates. Yours is 80,000. Good for you!

    FACT = The census measurement methodology is a fixed one. It is based on the following counting protocol:

    • All persons who have their main residence at the address in the count on May 10, 2016, including newborn babies, room-mates and persons who are temporarily away;

    • Canadian citizens, landed immigrants (permanent residents), persons asking for refugee status (refugee claimants), persons from another country with a work or study permit and family members living at that address with them;

    • Persons staying at the address temporarily on May 10, 2016 who have no main residence elsewhere.

    MY OPINION = It is likely that the most significant variation of the count of those living in PG comes from UNBC as well as CNC students who are from out of town and reside in PG only during the school year and then move back to their “permanent” address.

    FACT = The protocol of how they are counted is as follows: students who return to live with their parents during the year should be included at their parents’ address, even if they live elsewhere while attending school or working at a summer job.

    MY OPINION = Then we have those who commute to work in Alberta, Chile, the merchant marine or the other hundreds of modern day jobs people have which cause them to lead a “nomadic” lifestyle.

    FACT = The protocol is that spouses or common-law partners temporarily away who stay elsewhere while working or studying should be listed at the main residence of their family, if they return periodically.

    MY OPINION = In the first case we have people living in PG who get counted elsewhere. While they are here they add to the economic activity and use our services.

    If one wanted to, one could actually “mine” the data to get a good idea of whether that is approximately 1,000 or 3,000, for instance.

    In the second case we have the opposite. People counted as being here, including students attending institutions elsewhere as well as workers working elsewhere.

There is no reason to assume that the population increase is due to money being spent on construction etc; While we are building a new hotel, we also closed down the Connaught. Inland Kenworth built a new building on Boundry Road, and 97 S, however they closed down their operation on Quinn St. in the Carter Lite Industrial park. So very little actual gain in those areas. There would be a large number of babies born in the past 5 years, however that number would be off set by a significant number of deaths.

So who knows what is actually happening.

    A census of population is not the complete census data collected.

    Once that data becomes available later in the year one can start getting a better idea of why there has been a shift in the total population.

    For instance, we do not know whether there has been a shift in the demographic characteristic of the PG population.

    Are younger people moving in; are middle aged people moving away; is there an increase in the number of births; is there an increase in the number of new permanent residents from outside the country; or is there an increase in migration from other provinces.

    Nor do we know yet whether the average household size has changed again or how much the average family and individual income has changed and what that source of income is.

What to do ? So far the only politician to roll through PG that has any solid idea as to how to change the tend . Andrew Weaver leader of the Green Party could change the trend with a measly $6 million dollars and put PG/area on a level playing field with 604 . From the NDP ? Nothing . From christys two ? Photo ops . From the cons ??? Crickets .


Ataloss, I remember Christy Clark visiting us up here in Prince George during the 2013 election campaign, telling us; “Northern BC is the economic engine of the province, and that we are on the verge of an economic BOOM”.

Four years later, and the 2016 Census population numbers do not lie, unemployment is up, and people are leaving the region!

    BC is one of the few ‘have’ provinces in the country, unlike the 90’s under the NDP. I have no desire to return there, thanks.

    Another one with “alternate facts”!!!

    The population of the City has increased from 71,974 to 74,003.

    Where do you get your information from. Start comparing apples to apples for a change. You never learned how to play the Sesame Street game of “which of these three are not like the other?”

I put my 3 dogs on my census as children so that explains 3 people in the increase.

    BeingHuman, Peeps, JGalt, Sophic Sage and People#1, there’s 5 more!

      Sorry BH, I just couldn’t resist, haha!

In Alberta last year at census time one couldn’t go 100 feet without seeing a census sign reminding Albertans to vote. It’s no wonder their numbers are up, because it would be hard to not know a census was taking place and the importance Albertans put in being represented.

Cross the border into BC and nothing… No signs promoting the census and no talk to inform people of its importance. PG has always been under represented IMO because no one wants to volunteer that kind of information when ignorant of its importance.

    What are you talking about?

    Explain what voting has to do with a census count!!!

PGs under 35 population has dropped dramatically and this is the population that has young families for the future of the city. Our school district numbers are down almost in half from the 90’s. My grad class had around 560 in it and same school today has grad classes under 300. Of the 560 in my grad class maybe 60 have stayed in Northern BC.

Most of the loss of population can be accounted for with the loss of ability to retain young people just starting out, and this despite lower housing costs.

    “PGs under 35 population has dropped dramatically” …. in 2016? or previously?

    I do not believe the demographic data for 2016 is available yet. Where do you get that information from?

    “Our school district numbers are down almost in half from the 90’s”

    Please provide the data!!!

    In the mid 1970’s I recall the enrolment in SD57 hovered around 18,000.

    The count in 2015/2016 was 12,988, an increase from 12,915 the previous year.

    Using the 18,000 approximate figure, that is a reduction of 28%

    So we have some more “alternate facts” from Eagleone. Not unexpected.

      I forgot to mention that the 1970’s had the highest school enrolments. By the 1990’s they had already dropped. If you could find the actual count in that decade, the reduction would be even less than 28%.

      I found some data in the digitized Citizen.

      Citizen September 5, 1975 – total enrolment in SD57 was 20,936 on first day of classes – a 900 student increase from previous year. Elementary enrolment dropped to 12,313 which meant there were 8,623 secondary students.

      So, my recollection of around 18,000 was shy by 3,000.

      Citizen April 6, 1993 – In 1992 secondary enrolment was at 7,422. That is a drop of 14% by that time.

      Measuring to now from the mid 1990s would not amount to anything close to 50%.

    So there must be a lot of older people moving into PG to keep the population at stable levels and people moving here from out of country. Still doesn’t warrant spending billions on overpasses and moving mountains across the road.

Some additional data to confuse even more people …. LOL.

The City of Prince George(CY) population changed from 71,974 in 2011 to 74,003 in 2016 for an increase of 2.8%. The land area is 318.26 km2

The Census Agglomeration for Prince George(CA) increased from 84,232 in 2011 to 86,622 in 2016 for an increase of 2.8%. The land area is 17,686 km2 running all the way to the Alberta Border (essentially the Regional District).

Mackenzie’s population changed from 3,087 to 3,262 for an increase of 5.7%

Vanderhoof’s population changed from 1,980 to 1,979 for a decrease of 0.1%

Population centre extracts those areas of a City (CY), Census Agglomeration (CA) and Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) which have a density of at least 400 persons per square kilometer. It replaces the previous term of “urban area” as differentiated from the rural areas, typically acreage lots.

Based on that measure, the population centre of Prince George (POPCTR) changed from 62,623 to 65,510 for an increase of 4.6%. In other words, there are increased land masses within PG that have more of an urban characteristic rather than rural characteristic.

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