Friday, June 17, 2011

Rural BC Demographics

I am quantifying various things about rural BC in preparation for my appearance on Voice of BC next Thursday.

My definition of rural BC is all of the province that except for:

  • East coast of Vancouver Island from the Comox Valley south to Victoria
  • The Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky, Metro Vancouver
  • The Fraser Valley
  • Prince George
  • Kamloops
  • The Okanagan from Ok Falls to Armstrong

Here are some quick numbers relating to demographics specifically how they relate to aboriginal people in BC:

In the 2006 Census, 605,000 people lived in rural BC and 3,470,000 in urban BC.   This means a bit less than 15% of the population of the province.

Rural BC has 82,610 aboriginal people out of a total of 196,070 - this is 42.1% of all the aboriginal people in BC.   They make up 4.8% of all the people in BC but 13.5% of rural BC.  

Two urban centres, Kamloops and Prince George have large aboriginal populations.   They account 16,000 more aboriginal people, about 9.1% of their population.   This means in the rest of urban BC less than 3% of the people are aboriginal.

The Kootenaies, Boundary and South Okanagan have very low aboriginal populations.   With them factored out aboriginal people are about one in five in the rest of rural BC.

The aboriginal presence in rural BC is one that is not normally top of most people's minds in urban BC.   But it is a reality that the population in Prince Rupert, Bella Colla, Lytton, Fort St James and many more locations has a large aboriginal population.   The aboriginal population is also younger.

The rural aboriginal population is not only younger, but it is poorer and less likely to be able to get work.

Fundamentally, any solutions for the economic well being for rural BC has to pay a lot of attention the economic well being or First Nations.

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