Focus on Geography Series, 2011 Census

Province of British Columbia 1

Map of Canada with the province of British Columbia shaded in green

Map of British Columbia

Interactive version of map

In 2011, the enumerated population of British Columbia was 4,400,057 which represents a change of 7.0% from 2006. This compares to the national average of 5.9%.

The land area of British Columbia is 922,509.29 square kilometres with a population density of 4.8 persons per square kilometre. This compares to the national land area of 8,965,121.42 square kilometres with a population density of 3.7 persons per square kilometre.

In total, there were 1,764,637 private dwellings occupied by usual residents in British Columbia in 2011. This represents an increase of 7.4% of the number of private dwellings occupied by usual residents from 2006. For Canada as a whole, the total number of private dwellings occupied by usual residents increased 7.1%.

Population and dwelling counts

Canada, provinces and territories – Population, percentage change between 2006 and 2011

Table 1 Canada, provinces and territories – Population change, 2006 to 2011
Geographic name Population
2011 2006 Change % change % of nat. pop.
Canada  33,476,688 31,612,897 1,863,791 5.9 100.00
Newfoundland and Labrador 514,536 505,469 9,067 1.8 1.54
Prince Edward Island 140,204 135,851 4,353 3.2 0.42
Nova Scotia 921,727 913,462 8,265 0.9 2.75
New Brunswick 751,171 729,997 21,174 2.9 2.24
Quebec  7,903,001 7,546,131 356,870 4.7 23.61
Ontario  12,851,821 12,160,282 691,539 5.7 38.39
Manitoba  1,208,268 1,148,401 59,867 5.2 3.61
Saskatchewan  1,033,381 968,157 65,224 6.7 3.09
Alberta  3,645,257 3,290,350 354,907 10.8 10.89
British Columbia  4,400,057 4,113,487 286,570 7.0 13.14
Yukon 33,897 30,372 3,525 11.6 0.10
Northwest Territories 41,462 41,464 -2 0.0 0.12
Nunavut 31,906 29,474 2,432 8.3 0.10

British Columbia – Census metropolitan areas (CMAs), census agglomerations (CAs) and regions outside CMAs and CAs


In 2011, 87.6% of the population of British Columbia lived inside a census metropolitan area (CMA) or census agglomeration (CA). That represents 3,854,139 persons.


The number of persons living outside a census metropolitan area (CMA) and a census agglomeration (CA) was 545,918 which accounts for 12.4% of the provincial population.

Table 2 British Columbia - Metropolitan areas, populaton rank and population change, 2006 to 2011
CMA or CA name Type Population Rank
2011 2006 % change Nat. Prov.
Vancouver CMA 2,313,328 2,116,581 9.3 3 1
Victoria  CMA 344,615 330,088 4.4 15 2
Kelowna CMA 179,839 162,276 10.8 22 3
Abbotsford - Mission CMA 170,191 159,020 7.0 23 4
Kamloops CA 98,754 92,797 A 6.4 37 5
Nanaimo CA 98,021 92,361 6.1 38 6
Chilliwack CA 92,308 82,465 A 11.9 42 7
Prince George CA 84,232 83,225 1.2 46 8
Vernon CA 58,584 55,418 5.7 56 9
Courtenay CA 55,213 51,383 A 7.5 58 10
Duncan CA 43,252 41,387 4.5 68 11
Penticton CA 42,361 41,303 A 2.6 71 12
Campbell River CA 36,096 34,707 A 4.0 77 13
Parksville CA 27,822 26,518 4.9 92 14
Fort St. John CA 26,380 25,136 4.9 96 15
Port Alberni CA 25,465 25,343 A 0.5 99 16
Cranbrook CA 25,037 24,138 3.7 100 17
Quesnel CA 22,096 21,049 A 5.0 104 18
Williams Lake CA 18,490 18,760 -1.4 110 19
Salmon Arm CA 17,683 16,205 9.1 114 20
Squamish CA 17,479 15,256 14.6 116 21
Powell River CA 16,689 16,537 0.9 119 22
Terrace CA 15,569 15,420 A 1.0 124 23
Prince Rupert CA 13,052 13,392 -2.5 131 24
Dawson Creek CA 11,583 10,994 5.4 145 25

British Columbia – Census subdivisions, with 5,000-plus population with the highest population growth

Table 3 British Columbia – Census subdivisions, with 5,000-plus population with the highest population growth, population change, 2006 to 2011
Census subdivision (CSD) name CSD type Population
2011 2006 % change
Langford CY 29,228 22,459 30.1
Lake Country DM 11,708 9,606 21.9
Port Moody CY 32,975 27,512 19.9
Kent DM 5,664 4,738 E 19.5
Surrey CY 468,251 394,976 18.6

British Columbia – Census subdivisions, with 5,000-plus population with the lowest population growth

Table 4 British Columbia – Census subdivisions, with 5,000-plus population with the lowest population growth, population change, 2006 to 2011
Census subdivision (CSD) name CSD type Population
2011 2006 % change
Kitimat DM 8,335 8,987 -7.3
Peace River D RDA 5,479 5,749 -4.7
Esquimalt DM 16,209 16,840 -3.7
Hope DM 5,969 6,185 -3.5
Okanagan-Similkameen D RDA 5,717 5,913 -3.3

Age and sex

British Columbia – Age distribution

Table 5 British Columbia – Age distributions by broad age groups and sex, 2011 Census
Age groups Both sexes Males Females
0 to 14 15.4% 16.1% 14.7%
15 to 64 69.0% 69.2% 68.7%
65 and over 15.7% 14.7% 16.6%

In 2011, the percentage of the population aged 65 and over in British Columbia was 15.7%, compared with a national percentage of 14.8%. The percentage of the working age population (15 to 64) was 69.0% and the percentage of children aged 0 to 14 was 15.4%. In comparison, the national percentages were 68.5% for the population aged 15 to 64 and 16.7% for the population aged 0 to 14.

British Columbia – Population by broad age groups and sex

Table 6 British Columbia – Population by broad age groups, sex and population change between 2006 and 2011, 2006 and 2011 censuses
Broad age groups by sex Population
2011 2006 change % change
Both sexes
Total 4,400,055 4,113,485 286,570 7.0
0 to 14 677,360 679,600 -2,240 -0.3
15 to 64 3,033,975 2,834,070 199,905 7.1
65 and over 688,715 599,810 88,905 14.8
Males
Total 2,156,605 2,013,990 142,615 7.1
0 to 14 347,560 348,745 -1,185 -0.3
15 to 64 1,492,285 1,393,775 98,510 7.1
65 and over 316,760 271,475 45,285 16.7
Females
Total 2,243,455 2,099,495 143,960 6.9
0 to 14 329,805 330,860 -1,055 -0.3
15 to 64 1,541,695 1,440,300 101,395 7.0
65 and over 371,955 328,335 43,620 13.3

British Columbia – Population by five-year age groups and sex

Table 7 British Columbia – Population by five-year age groups and sex, 2011 Census
Age groups Both sexes Males Females
Total - Age groups 4,400,055 2,156,605 2,243,455
0 to 4 years 219,665 112,890 106,775
5 to 9 years 218,915 112,200 106,710
10 to 14 years 238,780 122,465 116,310
15 to 19 years 275,165 141,670 133,495
20 to 24 years 279,825 142,290 137,535
25 to 29 years 288,780 143,475 145,300
30 to 34 years 275,980 135,225 140,760
35 to 39 years 280,870 135,455 145,415
40 to 44 years 313,765 151,435 162,330
45 to 49 years 350,600 170,580 180,025
50 to 54 years 354,610 172,060 182,550
55 to 59 years 323,335 157,455 165,880
60 to 64 years 291,045 142,645 148,400
65 to 69 years 210,905 103,790 107,115
70 to 74 years 160,710 77,355 83,360
75 to 79 years 127,480 60,720 66,760
80 to 84 years 96,950 42,745 54,200
85 to 89 years 60,315 22,580 37,735
90 to 94 years 25,110 7,760 17,355
95 to 99 years 6,375 1,615 4,755
100 years and over 875 195 675
Median age 41.9 41.1 42.7

British Columbia – Median age2 of the population in the last 90 years

The median age in British Columbia was 41.9 years. In comparison, the median age of Canada was 40.6 years.

Chart E: British Columbia - Median age of the population in the last 90 years

Chart E description: British Columbia - Median age of the population in the last 90 years

Table 8 British Columbia and Canada – Median age of the population, 1921 to 2011 censuses
Median age Census year
1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2011
Canada 23.9 24.7 27.0 27.7 26.3 26.2 29.6 33.5 37.6 40.6
British Columbia 29.8 30.6 32.0 32.0 29.8 27.9 30.9 34.7 38.4 41.9

Families and households

In 2011, the number of census families3 in British Columbia was 1,238,155, which represents a change of 6.6% from 2006. This compares to a growth rate for Canada of 5.5% over the same period.


In British Columbia, 71.7% of census families were married couples in 2011, while 13.0% were common-law-couples and 15.3% were lone-parent families.

Family structure

Table 9 Canada, provinces and territories – Distribution of census families by family structure, 2011 Census
Geographic name Total families Married-couple families Common-law-couple families Lone-parent families % change, census families, 2006 to 2011
number % number % number %
Canada  9,389,695 6,293,950 67.0 1,567,905 16.7 1,527,840 16.3 5.5
Newfoundland and Labrador 159,385 114,335 71.7 20,630 12.9 24,420 15.3 2.3
Prince Edward Island 40,850 29,695 72.7 4,570 11.2 6,580 16.1 4.2
Nova Scotia 270,065 184,870 68.5 38,460 14.2 46,735 17.3 1.0
New Brunswick 224,590 152,455 67.9 35,945 16.0 36,190 16.1 3.1
Quebec  2,203,625 1,143,370 51.9 694,750 31.5 365,515 16.6 3.9
Ontario  3,612,205 2,612,890 72.3 394,670 10.9 604,645 16.7 5.5
Manitoba  327,875 232,635 71.0 39,060 11.9 56,185 17.1 4.8
Saskatchewan  285,375 202,770 71.1 35,785 12.5 46,825 16.4 6.7
Alberta  999,525 719,355 72.0 135,660 13.6 144,510 14.5 10.5
British Columbia  1,238,155 887,990 71.7 160,360 13.0 189,805 15.3 6.6
Yukon 9,330 5,080 54.4 2,340 25.1 1,915 20.5 11.9
Northwest Territories 10,930 5,465 50.0 3,135 28.7 2,330 21.3 0.5
Nunavut 7,780 3,035 39.0 2,545 32.7 2,195 28.2 10.5

British Columbia – Presence of children within couple families

Among couples (married and common-law) in British Columbia, 44.3% were couples with children aged 24 and under at home. In comparison, as a whole, 46.9% of couples in Canada had children aged 24 and under at home.

Among couples with children aged 24 and under at home in the province of British Columbia, 88.7% were intact families, that is, in which all children were the biological or adopted children of both parents, while 11.3% were stepfamilies, in which at least one child was the biological or adopted child of only one married spouse or common-law partner. For Canada as a whole in 2011, 12.6% of couples with children aged 24 and under at home were stepfamilies.



British Columbia – Marital status

In British Columbia, 57.9% of the total population aged 15 and over were either married (49.2%) or living with a common-law partner (8.6%).


The remaining 42.1% were not married and not living with a common-law partner, including those who were single (never-married), separated, divorced or widowed.


Note: Percentages may not total 100 percent due to random rounding.

Table 10 Canada, British Columbia – Population 15 years and older by marital status, 2011 Census
Marital status British Columbia Canada
number % number %
Total - Population 15 years and over 3,722,690 100.0 27,869,345 100.0
Married or living with a common-law partner 2,154,575 57.9 16,084,490 57.7
Married (and not separated) 1,832,605 49.2 12,941,965 46.4
Living common-law 321,965 8.6 3,142,525 11.3
Not married and not living with a common-law partner 1,568,120 42.1 11,784,855 42.3
Single (never legally married) 1,014,270 27.2 7,816,045 28.0
Separated 102,035 2.7 698,245 2.5
Divorced 246,515 6.6 1,686,035 6.0
Widowed 205,300 5.5 1,584,525 5.7

British Columbia – Types of private households

There were 1,764,635 private households4 in British Columbia in 2011, a change of 7.4% from 2006. Of these, 24.4% of households were comprised of couples with children aged 24 and under at home, a change of -0.3% compared with five years earlier.

Table 11 Canada, British Columbia – Distribution of households by household type, 2011 Census
Household type5 British Columbia Canada
number % number %
Total - Private households 1,764,635 100.0 13,320,615 100.0
Couple-family households with children6 431,135 24.4 3,524,915 26.5
Couple-family households without children7 532,995 30.2 3,935,540 29.5
Lone-parent family households8 168,530 9.6 1,375,450 10.3
One-person households 498,925 28.3 3,673,310 27.6
Multiple-family households9 50,410 2.9 268,060 2.0
Other households10 82,640 4.7 543,340 4.1

British Columbia – Size of private households

The average household size in British Columbia was 2.5 persons in 2011, compared to the Canadian average household size of 2.5 persons.

In British Columbia, the proportion of total private households with only one person has increased over time, while the proportion of larger households (five or more persons) has decreased.

Chart I: British Columbia – Size of private households, 1961 to 2011 Chart I description: British Columbia – Size of private households
Table 12 British Columbia – Proportion of total private households with one person and five or more persons, 1961 to 2011 censuses
Private household size 1961 1966 1971 1976 1981 1986 1991 1996 2001 2006 2011
One person 13.5 16.0 17.1 20.4 23.5 24.8 24.8 25.3 27.3 28.1 28.3
Five or more persons 24.9 24.3 21.5 16.0 11.9 10.2 10.3 10.4 9.6 8.9 8.5

British Columbia – Structural type of dwelling

In British Columbia, 47.7% of private households lived in single-detached houses and 8.2% lived in apartments in buildings that have five or more storeys. The rest lived in other types of dwelling structures.

Table 13 Canada, British Columbia – Distribution of private households by structural type of dwelling, 2011 Census
Structural type of dwelling British Columbia Canada
number % number %
Total - Structural type of dwelling 1,764,640 100.0 13,320,615 100.0
Single-detached house 842,120 47.7 7,329,150 55.0
Semi-detached house 52,825 3.0 646,240 4.9
Row house 130,370 7.4 791,600 5.9
Apartment, building that has five or more storeys 143,970 8.2 1,234,770 9.3
Apartment, building that has fewer than five storeys 361,150 20.5 2,397,555 18.0
Apartment, duplex 184,355 10.4 704,485 5.3
Other single-attached house11 2,885 0.2 33,310 0.3
Movable dwelling12 46,960 2.7 183,510 1.4

Language

British Columbia – Mother tongue

Chart J: British Columbia - Mother tongue and language spoken most often at home

Chart J description: British Columbia - Mother tongue and language spoken most often at home

Note: Counts for mother tongue as well as those for language spoken most often at home include single responses only.

In British Columbia, 70.3% of the population reported English only as mother tongue, 1.3% reported French only, and 26.5% reported only a non-official language, in 2011. In comparison, the national percentages were 56.9% for English only, 21.3% for French only and 19.8% for non-official languages only.

In 2011, 80.5% of the population spoke English only most often at home, 0.4% spoke only French, and 15.4% spoke only a non-official language. In comparison, the national percentages were 64.8% for English only, 20.6% for French only and 11.1% for only a non-official language.

Table 14 British Columbia – Mother tongue and language spoken most often at home, 2011 Census
Selected language Mother tongue Language spoken most often at home
number % number %
Total 4,356,210 100.0 4,356,205 100.0
English 3,062,430 70.3 3,506,595 80.5
French 57,280 1.3 16,685 0.4
Non-official language 1,154,220 26.5 670,100 15.4
Aboriginal language 9,250 0.2 1,840 0.0
Non-Aboriginal language 1,144,965 26.3 668,265 15.3
Multiple responses 82,280 1.9 162,825 3.7
Table 15 British Columbia – Mother-tongue retention, 2011 Census
Mother tongue Mother-tongue retention13
(in percentage)
Total retention; language spoken at home at least on a regular basis Complete retention; language spoken most often at home Partial retention; language spoken at home on a regular basis
Note: Counts for mother tongue and home language include single response of a language as well as multiple responses of a language with English and/or French.
English 99.5 99.0 0.5
French 49.1 25.7 23.4
Non-official language 80.6 61.8 18.8
Aboriginal language 51.8 20.2 31.6
Non-Aboriginal language 80.9 62.2 18.7

British Columbia – Non-official languages

In British Columbia, the three most common mother tongues were Panjabi (Punjabi) (4.5%), Cantonese (3.2%) and Chinese, n.o.s. (2.9%), in 2011. In comparison, the most common mother tongues at the national level were Panjabi (Punjabi) (1.4%), Chinese, n.o.s. (1.3%) and Spanish (1.3%).

Table 16 British Columbia – The most common non-official language mother tongues, 2011 Census
Mother tongue Number Percentage of non-official language mother-tongue population Percentage of total population
Note: Counts for mother tongue and home language include single response of a language as well as multiple responses of a language with English and/or French.
Panjabi (Punjabi) 193,985 15.8 4.5
Cantonese 138,845 11.3 3.2
Chinese, n.o.s. 124,580 10.1 2.9
Mandarin 96,420 7.9 2.2
German 77,745 6.3 1.8
Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) 77,100 6.3 1.8
Korean 50,600 4.1 1.2
Spanish 43,965 3.6 1.0
Persian (Farsi) 37,470 3.1 0.9
Hindi 28,135 2.3 0.6

British Columbia – Bilingualism

Table 17 British Columbia – Rate of English-French bilingualism by mother tongue and age groups, 2011 Census
Age groups Mother tongue
Total English French Non-official language
Note: Counts for mother tongue include single responses only. Consequently, the total excludes multiple responses.
Total 6.6 6.2 85.6 3.9
0 to 19 8.3 8.2 81.2 6.4
20 to 44 7.7 7.8 90.3 3.9
45 to 64 5.4 4.3 86.6 3.2
65 and over 4.6 3.1 79.8 2.8
Table 18 British Columbia – Knowledge of official languages, 2011 Census
Knowledge of official languages Number Percentage
Total 4,356,205 100.0
English only 3,912,955 89.8
French only 2,050 0.0
English and French 296,645 6.8
Neither English nor French 144,560 3.3

Symbols:

···
not applicable
excludes census data for one or more incompletely enumerated Indian reserves or Indian settlements. For further information, refer to Notes.
incompletely enumerated Indian reserve or Indian settlement. For further information, refer to Notes.
A
adjusted figure due to boundary change. For further information, refer to Content considerations.
E
use with caution. For further information, refer to Cautionary note.

Notes:

  1. British Columbia – This province has the following data quality indicators (commonly referred to as data quality flags):
     

    Excludes census data for one or more incompletely enumerated Indian reserves or Indian settlements.

  2. Median age: Age 'x' that divides a population in two groups of the same population size, one group being older than age 'x' and the other group being younger than age 'x'.
  3. Census family: Refers to a married couple (with or without children), a common-law couple (with or without children) or a lone parent family.
  4. Household, private: Refers to a person or a group of persons (other than foreign residents) who occupy a private dwelling and do not have a usual place of residence elsewhere in Canada.
  5. Household type: Refers to the basic division of private households into family and non-family households. Family household refers to a household that contains at least one census family, that is, a married couple with or without children, or a couple living in common-law with or without children or a lone parent living with one or more children.
  6. Couple-family households with children: Refers to couple households with at least one child aged 24 and under.
  7. Couple-family households without children: Refers to couple households without children aged 24 and under. Includes couple households with all children aged 25 and over.
  8. Lone-parent-family households: Refers to all lone-parent family households regardless of age of children.
  9. Multiple-family households: Refers to a household in which two or more census families (with or without additional persons) occupy the same private dwelling.
  10. Other households: Refers to two or more people who share a private dwelling, but who do not constitute a census family.
  11. Other single-attached house: A single dwelling that is attached to another building and that does not fall into any of the other categories, such as a single dwelling attached to a non-residential structure (e.g., a store or a church) or occasionally to another residential structure (e.g., an apartment building).
  12. Movable dwelling includes mobile homes and other movable dwellings such as houseboats and railroad cars.
  13. Mother-tongue retention: Retention refers to the situation where people speak their mother tongue at home. Retention is defined as 'complete' when the mother tongue is the language spoken most often and 'partial' when it is spoken on a regular basis but not most often. The (complete or partial) retention rate refers to the proportion of the population with a given mother tongue that speaks that language at home most often or on a regular basis. The retention rate provides an indication of a group's linguistic vitality, particularly the importance of transmitting languages between generations.


Source:

Statistics Canada. 2012. Focus on Geography Series, 2011 Census. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-310-XWE2011004. Ottawa, Ontario. Analytical products, 2011 Census. Last updated October 24, 2012.