Contributed photo.

Contributed photo.

Senior population, vacant homes growing in Victoria, says StatsCan

Victoria, Esquimalt sees population growth of 7.2 and 8.9 per cent respectively.

Tim Collins

VICTORIA NEWS

Victoria is growing at a rate that outpaced the national average, according to figures from the 2016 census released by Statistics Canada.

The city’s population growth rate of 7.2 per cent (since the last census period in 2011) was well above the national average of five per cent. The population of British Columbia, in total, was also above the national average with a growth rate of 5.6 per cent.

While the City of Victoria showed a respectable 7.2 per cent growth, and Esquimalt exceeded that number with an 8.9 per cent growth. Those numbers were eclipsed by the rate of growth in some of the West Shore communities. For example, Langford showed an increase of 20.9 per cent, and View Royal a healthy 10.9 per cent growth.

Victoria continues to be a mecca for the elderly with a moderate climate and fantastic natural beauty attracting seniors from across the country. The average age of Victoria’s population of 85,792 is 44.5 years, above the national average of 41 years, and the percentage of Victorians 65 and older is 18.1 per cent. That’s representative of a nation-wide trend that Statistics Canada shows as the greatest ever increase in the share of the population who are seniors.

The number of seniors in Victoria continues to favour females as they represent 42,935 of the 77,775 residents in that age group. By comparison, the number of Victoria residents between the ages of zero to 14 years of age numbers only 48,255 in total.

Looking ahead, population projections say the gap between young and old will continue to grow. By 2031 it’s predicted that one-in-four Canadians will be 65 or older.

Beyond the population statistics and information on an aging demographic, the 2016 census has also provided city council with information that may exacerbate some concerns regarding housing in the city.

According to the census, there were 3,540 vacant dwellings in Victoria, 7.9 per cent of the total number of dwellings in the city.

As far as being able to afford a home, Statistics Canada reports a median household income in Victoria of $86,430, as compared to $76,040 in Vancouver. The median total income nationally is $78,870, so Victoria still posts a reasonable amount in comparison, but falls far below figures posted for Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina which are all in excess of the $100,000 mark.

editor@vicnews.com