British Columbia, or BC, is a province located in Canada on the West coast that is considered part of the Pacific Northwest, along with two states in the US - Washington and Oregon. The capital of the province is Victoria- named after the British Queen in 1858. Additionally, the largest city in British Columbia is Vancouver. The northern areas further into the province have a subarctic climate, while further south - and particularly the coastal areas - are generally milder. British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada and bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the US state Alaska to the northwest, Yukon and the Northwest Territories to the north, Alberta to the east and the US states Montana, Idaho and Washington to the south.
British Columbia has a population of just under 4.7 million. It is steadily growing with an increase of between 5%-7% every 5 years since 2001.
An interesting aspect about British Columbia is that 8 of Canada’s top 100 neighborhoods for most promising growth are located in British Columbia. The 4.6 or so million people inhabiting BC make up just over 13% of the nation’s population; they inhabit an area of around 944,735 square kilometers, which makes the population density 4.8 people per square kilometer compared with the national average of 3.7 per square kilometer. Much of the country is very lightly populated with the population count increasing the farther south you go – mostly due to the more extreme climate in the north of the province.
Cities in British Columbia
The main cities in the province are Victoria and Vancouver which account for nearly 15% of the total population. Victoria is the capital of the province and it's located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off the Pacific coast. Victoria has a population of 83,000, but Greater Victoria has a population estimated at 348,000, which makes it the 15th most populous urban region in Canada. Victoria is densely populated with 4,109 people per square kilometer, or 10,643 per square mile.
The largest city in British Columbia is Vancouver, a coastal seaport on the mainland with an estimated population of 610,000 in the city proper, which makes it the 8th largest municipality in Canada. Metro Vancouver, which includes the City of Vancouver and a number of other large cities, is the third largest metropolitan area in the country with a population of 2.48 million. The city has a population density of 5,249 people per square kilometer, or 13,590 per square mile. Vancouver is one of Canada's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in the country with 52% of residents speaking a first language other than English. 30% of the residents of the city are of Chinese heritage.
Other major cities in British Columbia include:
- Surrey (Greater Vancouver): 470,000
- Burnaby (Greater Vancouver): 224,000 -Richmond (Greater Vancouver): 190,000
- Abbotsford (Fraser Valley): 135,000
- Coquitlam (Greater Vancouver): 128,000
- Kelowna (Central Okanagan): 119,000
- Kamloops (Thompson-Nicola): 87,000
British Columbia Demographics
The percentage of people living in British Columbia who confirm to have no particular religious affiliation is over 35%, a high number compared to the total population of Canada where the figure is a 16.5%. Closer to the national average is the number of Protestants sitting at 31%, compared with 29% overall in the country. The only other large proportion, at 17%, is that of the Catholic residents. This is low compared to the national average of over 43%. Less than 18% of the residents would consider their ethnicity to be Canadian. Furthermore, over 57% of the inhabitants cite themselves to be British. British Columbia has a diverse population in terms of languages, 71.5% confirm English as their mother tongue with the next highest of Chinese at 8.5%.
The median age of people in the province of British Columbia is 41.9 which is higher than the national average of 40.6. Thus, this helps to underline the prediction that by 2015 one in six British Columbians will be over age 65; it is also expected that by 2018 there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 18. Naturally, this is explained by the lower birth rate (1.4 births per woman) compared with the national average (1.6)
British Columbia Population Growth
The population of British Columbia is growing by approximately 5% per year. This growth is mainly of older residents as the province is a hot spot for immigration. Luckily, British Columbia manages to maintain a lower unemployment rate than the rest of Canadas, with an average of 5.8% compared to the national unemployment rate of 6.9%. Another plus point for the province is that despite having less than 5% arable land the climate and geography ensure that British Columbia will remain as an agriculturally rich land area. The economic history of British Columbia is mainly around resource industries – primarily forestry but also mining. The province overall is a steady part of Canada with a GDP per capita of $45,430.