BC Stats estimates small population increase

B.C. Stats published a report this month that suggests that Prince Rupert’s population has increased for the fist time in several years.

The report studies population change in municipalities from across the province from July 1, 2009, to June 2010. During that time period BC Stats estimates that the population of Prince Rupert increased by one per cent - from 12,863 to 12,994. If accurate it would represent a change in the downward trend of Prince Rupert’s population, which decreased by 12 per cent between 2001 and 2006.

Jennifer Hansen is a senior demographer with B.C. Stats. She believes that the statistics are accurate even though they are an estimate. The estimate is done by using available stats that would be influenced by a change in population and then applying some calculations to figure out the likely change in the population; basically, looking at the effect in order to figure out the cause. In this survey’s case, they used health registrations and B.C. Hydro hookups.

“We start with the 2006 census and then we look at those indicators. Change in those indicators, indicates change in the population. We don’t use them as a direct one to one, so we don’t just add the number of hydro hookups to the number of people; it’s the change in the hydro hookups,” Hansen said.

“[But, like all statistics,] there’s always some amount of error involved,” says Hansen.

The Mayor of Prince Rupert, Jack Mussallem, says that he believes that the statistics are accurate and that it’s a sign that the city is finally starting to turn things around.

“It only goes to show that we are growing by leaps and bounds and at some point in the future we’ll become the northern capital of northern British Columbia,” he said.

“I know it’s an estimate but it is an indication that there is more economic activity here, that there are more people working here presently than there was in 2009. Even though it’s a small indication, I would take it as an indication that in terms of people leaving, it has leveled off.”

In terms of other communities in the Skeena - Queen Charlotte Regional District, BC Stats estimates that the population Masset fell by 10 to 920, Port Clements grew by two people to 456, Port Edward remained consistent at 571 residents, the Village of Queen Charlotte fell by three to 959 and the population of the unincorporated areas fell by 83 to 3,597. The total for the regional district rose by 34 residents.

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