Dawson Creek was among the fastest shrinking municipalities in B.C. in 2016, while population growth in the northeast has slowed from the highs of the past five years, according to new population estimates.
Those were two of the big trends in sub-provincial population estimates, released late last month by BC Stats.
The annual sub-provincial estimate is the best population data available between censuses. Analysts use indicators including health client registration and residential hydro hook-ups to gauge provincial populations each year.
Of B.C. municipalities with more that 5,000 residents, Dawson Creek saw the seventh-highest year-to-year population decline, sliding 1.66 per cent after losing an estimated 205 residents. The city’s population sits at 12,115, according to the analysis.
Terrace was the biggest loser, dropping 506 residents in one year for a loss of 4.53 per cent.
In the Northeast, Chetwynd was the fastest growing municipality with a 4.7 per cent population gain year over year. The district passed neighbouring Tumbler Ridge in population for the first time in five years, growing to 2,877 residents to Tumbler’s 2,853.
In the North Peace, Fort St. John grew 1.8 per cent to 22,214 people, Hudson’s Hope shrank to 1,022 for a loss of 1.3 per cent, and Taylor saw its population grow two per cent to 1,544 residents.
Pouce Coupe saw the biggest per capita loss in the Peace, declining 4.3 per cent to 689 residents.
Growth in the region as a whole has slowed in recent years. Between 2011 and 2012, the Peace River Regional District added 3 per cent to its population. That growth has since tapered off, dropping to a .4 per cent increase last year.
Prince George lost the most residents of any B.C. city overall, with 1,011 residents leaving between 2015 and 2016. Port Edward, which would be home to Petronas’s Pacific NorthWest LNG plant, shrank the most per capita (5.8 per cent) after losing 29 people. Langford was the fastest growing at 6.72 per cent.