Statistics Canada revealed that Vancouver’s population increased to 631,486 residents, as part of the 2016 Census count. This is an increase of 4.6% from the previous 2011 population count of 603,502. As well, the Census also showed that 25,502 residential dwelling units were unoccupied at the time of the Census (May 10, 2016). The overall population of Canada increased to 35,151,728 residents, representing 5.0% growth since 2011.
The population of Surrey increased to 517,887, a 10.6% increase from 2011. Other Canadian cities with high rates of growth in the same time frame included Calgary (13.0%), Edmonton (14.8%) and Saskatoon (10.9%). More moderate population growth was recorded in Toronto (4.5%), Ottawa (5.8%) and Winnipeg (6.3%). The largest city in Canada was Toronto, with 2,731,571 residents and a population density of 4,334.4 people per square kilometre. In contrast, the city of Vancouver’s population density was 5,492.6 people per square kilometre. Vancouver is a denser city than Toronto.
Statistics Canada hired 35,000 additional workers for the 2016 Census; hundreds of enumerators went door to door in Vancouver alone over a four-month period to follow-up and verify data in the field. Statistics Canada counted all residential dwelling units across Canada and recorded the number of residents per unit. Canadian citizens, landed immigrants, foreign workers and students with visas were all included in the population count (excluded were tourists and visitors). One in four residents completed a mandatory long form census.
A total of 309,418 private dwelling units were recorded in Vancouver. 283,916 private dwelling units were occupied by usual residents; in other words, 25,502 residential units were unoccupied on Census Day. The Statistics Canada website notes:
‘Private dwelling occupied by usual residents’ refers to a private dwelling in which a person or a group of persons is permanently residing. Also included are private dwellings whose usual residents are temporarily absent on May 10, 2016.
An unoccupied dwelling unit could be an investment property left empty, or it could be a rental unit without a tenant. The City of Vancouver received a report in March of 2016 that claimed there are 10,800 empty homes by examining hydro (electricity consumption) data from 225,000 homes (this figure of 10,800 empty homes is 14,702 less than the count of unoccupied dwelling units by StatsCan).
Statistics Canada has scheduled the following dates to release additional results from the 2016 Census of Population:
- May 3, 2017 – Age, sex and type of dwelling
- August 2, 2017 – Families, households, marital status and language
- September 13, 2017 – Income
- October 25, 2017 – Immigration, ethnocultural diversity, housing and Aboriginal peoples
- November 29, 2017 – Education, labour, journey to work, language of work, mobility and migration
The Census included mechanisms to count homeless, as well as people living in tents, cars, or other vehicles. Data collected for the Census is strictly confidential and covered by the Statistics Act.
- 2016 Census Vancouver, City (CSD) – British Columbia (Statistics Canada, Feb 8, 2017)
- Census counts 25 502 empty homes in Vancouver more than double the estimate by City Hall (Vancouver Sun, Feb 8, 2017 )
- Number of unoccupied Vancouver homes rises to 25,000, census data show (MetroNews, Feb 8, 2017)
- New Census shows more empty homes in Vancouver than city data (CKNW, Feb 8, 2017)
- Vancouver has the highest population density in Canada: Census (BIV, Feb 8, 2017)
- StatsCan releases 2011 Population Data from Census (CityHallWatch, Feb 8, 2012)
Population changes varied over Vancouver. A number of Census tracts recorded population declines (orange). Population increases are shown in purple (see legend). Click on image to see original high-resolution PDF.