WHAT GOES UP...JUST KEEPS GOING UP British Columbia continues to attract an abundance of international migrants, which in turn is fueling our population and workforce growth.
British Columbia’s population continues to grow, having added 14,180 people in Q1 2019 per the latest data from Statistics Canada. This is 5% higher than in the same quarter last year, with growth continuing to be driven by a net inflow of international migrants (which includes immigrants and temporary residents, such as students and workers). In fact, the year-over-year bump in quarterly population growth in Q1 could almost entirely be attributed to an increase in net international migration, which grew by 8% over the period as it added 12,895 people in Q1. This is a good thing too, because natural increase—which reflects the difference between the number of births and deaths in a given period—added only 277 people to the province in Q1, up from 224 in Q1 2018. Looking ahead, this figure isn’t likely to grow appreciably, falling inevitably into negative territory due to our below-replacement level
birth rate and aging Baby Boomer cohort into the so-called “higher mortality” stages of life. Net interprovincial migration remained positive in the most recent period, adding just over a thousand people to the province, though this was down 24% from last year’s Q1. We continue to offer economic and lifestyle opportunities that attract Ontarians, Manitobans, and Saskatchewanians, apparently, as we added 1,364 of them in the first three months of this year (on a net basis). In aggregate, we lost 298 people to Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, possibly due to desired cost-of-living changes, as well as 207 to Alberta—the third consecutive quarter of net outflows from BC to that province. With tight labour markets across BC, our economic performance will increasingly hinge on our ability to attract young, skilled migrants. For now, things are looking up.
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