Two data points don't make a trend, but...Q2 population & migration estimates for BC show positive signs!

The Urban Futures Institute


Click here for a map showing Q2 2014 demographic estimates for Provinces & Territories.


Statistics Canada’s most recent release of quarterly population estimates for Q2 2014 show that Canada added 124,240 new residents over the previous quarter, reaching a total population of 35.5 million by the end of June 2014. Consistent with past trends, net immigration accounted for the lion’s share of this growth (72 percent), as 89,534 immigrants, on a net basis, came to Canada in Q2 2014 (down from 97,583 net immigrants in Q2 2013). Natural increase (the number of births minus the number of deaths) added the remaining 34,706 people to Canada’s population between April and June of 2014.

In British Columbia, the provincial population reached 4.63 million by the end of Q2 2014. Adding 14,676 net new residents between Q1 and Q2 of 2014, the province experienced growth that fell just below the national average (0.3 percent versus 0.4 percent nationally). Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba all grew at or above the national rate, while Newfoundland & Labrador and New Brunswick were the only two provinces to experience population declines, albeit marginal, between the first and second quarters of 2014. All other provinces and territories grew, but at a below-average rate.

Eleven percent of Canada’s net new immigrants in Q2 2014 settled in BC, making it one of the top four destinations for immigrants to the country. This data, which includes immigrants, emigrants, net non-permanent residents and Canadians returning from abroad, shows that 9,591 people settled in BC from other countries over this quarter. It is, however, interesting to note that this figure has fallen since Q2 of 2013, when BC attracted 18 percent of the country’s new immigrants.

BC’s population growing through natural increase in the most recent quarter may catch people’s attention. Although the 3,113 net new residents added through natural increase in the most recent quarter is notably larger than the 1,917 net additional people in the previous quarter, this increase is consistent with historical seasonal fluctuations where Q2 and Q3 of each year typically show more robust numbers than those in Q1 and Q4. Compared to the 2,908 net new people added through natural increase in Q2 2013, the current quarter’s gains are certainly more modest.


British Columbia was among four provinces with positive domestic migration in Q2 2014 – along with Alberta, Nova Scotia, and the Yukon. BC’s net gain of 1,972 residents through domestic migration is significant for two reasons. First, this positive quarterly contribution represents a second consecutive quarter of population gains through domestic migration for the province. Second, while BC has continued to lose residents to Alberta and Newfoundland, in Q2 2014 the net outflow of residents to both of these places was reduced from the previous quarter.

After eight quarters of a net outflow to other provinces since early 2011, the two most recent quarters of positive gains are a welcome sign for British Columbia. While it is true that two data points do not make a trend, the migration and population estimates for Q2 2014 provide encouraging signs that positive domestic migration in Q1 was not merely an anomaly in the data.