British Columbia heads into the third decade of the 21st century with an estimated population of just over 5.1 million people. (Black Press Media File)

British Columbia’s population stands at 5.1 million heading into 2020

International migration remains the driving force behind provincial population growth

British Columbia heads into the third decade of the 21st century with an estimated population of just over 5.1 million people, as of Oct. 1, 2019 with population growth pointing upwards largely thanks to international migration.

This figure appears in the latest statistics released by the provincial government. They show the provincial population grew by 34,240 persons in the third quarter of 2019 with most of the population growth in that quarter (almost 87 per cent) due to international immigration (31,688). Interprovincial migration (1,970) and natural increase (2,572) accounted for the rest.

RELATED: Canadian society is undergoing ‘rapid aging,’ says Statistics Canada

RELATED: B.C. population on pace to fall behind Alberta

RELATED: International migration drives population rise in B.C.

RELATED: Canada’s population clock shows demographic changes in real time

B.C.’s total population grew by 78,425 persons (up 1.6 per cent) over the twelve months ending Sept. 30, 2019 with international migration (82 per cent) accounting for most of the growth. British Columbia, in other words, is more attractive for foreigners than residents from other Canadian provinces.

Compared to other provinces, British Columbia grew the most during the third quarter with a rate of 0.68 per cent, followed by Ontario (0.64 per cent). Canada’s population grew by 0.55 per cent to just 37.78 million during the third quarter of 2019.

But if British Columbia for now remains the third-most populous province, a recent report predicts that it will likely behind Alberta in population size.


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