New figures from Statistics Canada peg the estimated population of the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) at 408,883 as of July 1, 2020, an increase of just under 1.35 per cent compared to the previous year.
Estimates for 2016 pegged the regional population at 384,632, while latest available census figures from 2016 (capturing comparable but different categories at different points in time) pegged the regional population at 357,690.
The new figures broadly show that the population growth of Canada’s CMAs has slowed between July 1, 2019, and July 1, 2020, to 1.3 per cent, down from 1.7 per cent during the previous recording period.
This said, the figures show that Canada’s urbanization continues as non-urban regions of the country grew at a lower rate of 0.6 per cent. As of July 1, 2020, 27.3 million people, or just over 7 out of 10 Canadians (71.8 per cent) lived in a CMA.
The figures also show two trends.
First, international migration continues to drive population growth in the CMAs. During the recording period, international migration accounted for almost 91 per cent of population growth in CMAs. By contrast, migrants from abroad accounted for about one-third of population growth in other parts of the country.
Notably, Victoria CMA relied heavily on arrivals from other parts of the province with 3,279 net arrivals during the recording period. Another 1,733 residents came from other parts of Canada, while 1,261 arrivals came from abroad. The number of natural deaths exceeded the number of births by 845.
Second, residents of CMAs continue to trade time for space by accepting longer commutes to the outer regions of their respective CMAs, thereby leading to urban sprawl. Factors include what Statistics Canada calls “rapidly increasing housing costs” as well as other factors including the professional ability to work from home and personal health.
This trend also appears in Victoria CMA, where the ‘outer’ communities, especially those on the West Shore (like Langford), have recorded higher population growth than the ‘core’ communities of Victoria and Saanich.
While the census supplies information on the demographic, social and economic conditions of the population at a single point in time, population estimates adjust the census counts, with population estimates historically higher than the census count.
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