Prince Rupert’s population has declined to 11,733, a drop of yet another 2.1 per cent.
This Statistics Canada census data specifically targets Prince Rupert’s population centre and not outlying districts or rural populations, such as Port Edward.
In information released last week, 2011 population numbers for the city were revised from 12,508 to 11,985.
The 2016 data indicates another 2.1 per cent drop to 11,733 — a decrease of 252 individuals. Port Edward’s population also declined by 14.2 per cent. In comparison, the province’s population grew by 5.6 per cent.
Data also released last week reveals that both Prince Rupert and Terrace have 18 per cent of the population 14 years of age and younger and 15 per cent aged 65 years and older.
An interesting note is that Port Edward, which was recently approved by the province for a seniors centre, has no residents 85 years and older, but 16 per cent of its population is between 65 and 84 years of age. Children 14 years of age and younger make up 17 per cent of the district’s population.
To understand how the North Coast age demographics compare on a national scale, the Canadian average has 18 per cent of the population aged 65 years and older and 16 per cent 14 years and younger.
In B.C. 18.3 per cent of residents are 65 and over, compared to 14.9 per cent who are 14 and younger. This demographic shift pushes the province’s average age to 42.3 years – younger than only the Maritimes. Canada-wide, 16.9 per cent of all residents are 65 and older. In comparison, 14.5 per cent of the U.S. population are seniors.
The first year that seniors outnumbered children in B.C. was 2011, but at the time, the gap was just more than 11,000. In 2016, seniors outnumbered children by just over 150,000. According to Statistics Canada, the sharp increase in seniors correlates with baby boomers hitting retirement age while the slow growth in children is due to fertility rates which have been slowing since the 1970s.
While immigration has aided general population growth in B.C., the statistics agency says most immigrants fit into the 15-64 years age category and thus affect neither children nor seniors.