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Young people make up growing number of newcomers to Vancouver Island: report

Source: CTV News Vancouver Island
By Adam Chan, CTV News Vancouver Island Staff, Published April 18, 2022 2:14 p.m. PDT

Vancouver Island has long been described as a desirable place to live, and now a local non-profit group has broken down how many people moved to the island over the past seven years.

Between 2014 and 2021, more than 89,000 people moved to Vancouver Island, according to the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA), with more than half of those people coming from elsewhere in B.C.


More than half of all migrants who came to Vancouver Island between 2014 and 2021 moved to the capital region, according to VIEA, with approximately 45,800 people settling there.

The Nanaimo region saw the second-highest number of migrants, with 18,800, followed by Comox with 8,500 and the Cowichan Valley with 8,000.

Another 5,400 people moved to the North Island in the Strathcona region, according to VIEA, while 2,700 migrants chose to live on the west coast of the island in the Alberni-Clayoquot area.

“Initially most growth was concentrated in the South Island region around Victoria up to Nanaimo, and near Campbell River where major projects were under construction,” said VIEA in a release on March 31.

“However, as housing affordability deteriorated in Victoria and Nanaimo people started to migrate to areas in the north and west.”

The total number of migrants coming to Vancouver Island between 2014 and 2021 is nearly the same as the entire population of Nanaimo, which reported a population of 99,863 residents in the 2021 Statistics Canada census.


Over the past seven years, the age of people moving to Vancouver Island, and where they’re coming from, has changed, says VIEA.

Between 2014 and 2020, the percentage of people who were moving to the island who were aged 50 or older declined from 59 per cent of all migrants to 35 per cent.

Meanwhile, international immigration fell significantly during the pandemic, with a marked increase in Canadians from other parts of the country moving to Vancouver Island.

Between 2014 and 2021, some 46,400 people who moved to Vancouver Island came from other parts of B.C., while 37,200 came from elsewhere in Canada.

International immigration accounted for approximately 19,100 newcomers, while non-permanent residents made up about 1,700 people on the island.

When accounting for “natural increases,” such as births and deaths on the island, VIEA reports a net loss of about 14,900 people over the seven-year period.

March 31, 2022 (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance)

Earlier this month, the City of Nanaimo said its 25 to 44-year-old demographic was beginning to outpace its 65-plus cohort for the first time in years.

Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said the shift marked an exciting new period for the city.

“It clearly shows people have confidence in Nanaimo,” he said.

“People want to live here and the construction industry is booming, responding to all the folks who are making that decision.”

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