Canada Heads West: Putting the "Pop" in Population Growth

Pandemic—what pandemic? Movement to British Columbia in Q1 2021 continued a trend that started midway through 2020, with Canada’s westernmost province attracting big numbers of international and domestic migrants.

British Columbia has fared comparatively well—or gotten lucky, or both—in managing a path through the pandemic. Relative to the experience of other provinces in the country, and in comparing Metro Vancouver to other regions, our per-capita case counts have been generally lower, our labour market has mostly bounced back, and our population has continued to grow.

On the latter observation, our growth has been more than modest, too: in Q1 2021 (the latest period for which we have data) British Columbia added 21,685 people, almost precisely double the 10,829 we added in Q1 2020.

So what has been driving this surge in population growth in the west? Migration, of course. In fact, natural increase (the difference between the number of births and deaths in a given period) was actually negative in Q1 2021, with there having been 324 more deaths than births (interestingly, natural increase may have been slightly positive if it had not been for Covid). This means that migration to BC was actually the sole driver to provincial population growth most recently.


Net interprovincial migration to BC has been strong for the past year, and this was also certainly the case in Q1, with the 9,013 net movers from other parts of the country to BC representing a more-than-doubling of the number of movers who came in the same quarter one year ago.

With migrants from international origins coming to the tune of almost 13,000 movers, this could be the thin edge of the migration wedge as we more fully open our borders and welcome the world back in.

Read the full rennie landscape - Fall 2021 here

Twice a year, rennie intelligence produces the rennie landscape, that tracks a variety of demographic and economic indicators that directly and indirectly influence our housing market here in Metro Vancouver. Our goal is to provide our community with a basis for evaluating the trajectory of the factors that collectively define the context for the real estate market.

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