Over the last few years, as Prince Rupert got kicked around by the economy, the city’s population estimates were frequently revised downwards by word on the street. The official total from the Canadian census is 12,815, but that’s a number from 2006, back when the town was going through a mini-boom. The more pessimistic folks downgraded that total by almost 30 per cent, and argued the town’s population had whittled down to 9,000.
But on January 14, the provincial statistics agency released its official estimate to communities across B.C. In that report, B.C. Stats estimates Rupert’s population in 2010 was 12,994, up one per cent from its 2009 estimate of 12,863.
“It’s good to hear they’re projecting a slight bit of growth,” said Mayor Jack Mussallem.
According to the B.C. Stats report, titled 2010 Sub-Provincial Population Estimates, the numbers are generatd using the “Generalized Estimation System.” And, since it’s an estimate, it may not be completely accurate. For instance, B.C. Stats estimated Rupert’s population to be 13,072; Statistics Canada, through the census, said it was 12,815. Still, that 2006 number is only off by 257 people.
Across the province, the Okanagan Valley saw big drops in its population — Summerland’s dropped by 2.2 per cent, Oliver went down five per cent, and Penticton dropped 0.6 per cent. The biggest population gain happened in Langford, on Vancouver Island, which saw a 6.6 per cent increase. For the most part, though, most of the gains were seen in and around Vancouver: Surrey (3.4 per cent), North Vancouver (3.6 per cent) and New Westminster (2.8 per cent) were among the top ten growth municipalities.
Mussallem credited the growth in shipping and port traffic as reasons for Rupert’s one per cent increase. While the City will not see any practical benefits to the higher number, he said the growth in population may bring more funding from provincial and federal ministries.
With all that, we won’t know the official population until the census is released. The count will happen this May, and the population numbers for communities across Canada will be released in February 2012.
~Written by Chris Armstrong
Population estimates of selected communities in B.C.
|Name||2009 estimate||2010 estimate||Increase/decrease ( %)
|Fort St. John||19,482||19,873||+2.0|
Source: B.C. Stats. “2010 Sub-provincial population estimates.” January 2011. Available here.