OTTAWA – New census data shows the population of the metropolitan area of Vancouver outpaced the national growth rate over the last five years – a period of time that saw the country spiral into the most serious economic tailspin since the Great Depression.

Statistics Canada released the first batch of numbers from the 2011 census on Wednesday and the population of what the government agency refers to as the census metropolitan area of Vancouver increased by 9.3 per cent since the last census in 2006.

The area’s growth rate was above the national growth rate of 5.9 per cent, while the population of British Columbia increased by 7.0 per cent.

Census metropolitan areas do not conform to established municipal boundaries. Statistics Canada defines them as a metropolitan area with a population of at least 100,000, where the urban core of that area has at least 50,000 people. Commuting patterns and other factors are used in determining these census metropolitan areas. Looking at metropolitan areas this way takes in to account the growing impact of suburban areas on Canada’s largest cities.

When the 2011 census was taken last May 10, the population of the census metropolitan area of Vancouver was 2,313,328, compared with 2,116,581 from the 2006 census. The population of the actual city of Vancouver was 603,502 up from 578,041 in 2006.

The census indicated that Vancouver ranked No. 3 among the country’s 33 census metropolitan areas.

Canada’s population on census day was 33,476,688, Statistics Canada reported.

The national census is conducted every five years. The information published Wednesday is the first of several releases of data to come from Statistics Canada over the next year and longer that will eventually paint a detailed picture of the country, right down to the local level – including age breakdowns of the population, family makeup, languages spoken, immigration and ethnic origin, the level of education attained and income earned.

At the national level, the 2011 census showed Canada’s population grew the fastest of the G8 countries over the last five years – ahead of the United States (4.4 per cent), the United Kingdom (3.5 per cent), Italy (3.2 per cent), France (2.8 per cent), Russia (0.1 per cent), Japan (no change) and Germany (which had a population decrease of 0.8 per cent).

The western provinces, where the recession had less of an impact than in central and eastern Canada, led the way in population growth. Alberta saw the highest increase at 10.8 per cent, followed by British Columbia (7.0 per cent) and Saskatchewan (6.7 per cent).

Manitoba (5.2 per cent) was the only western province with a population increase below the national average. Other provinces below the national growth rate were Nova Scotia (0.9 per cent), Newfoundland and Labrador (1.8 per cent), New Brunswick (2.9 per cent), Prince Edward Island (3.2 per cent), Quebec (4.7 per cent) and Ontario (5.7 per cent). Among the northern territories, the population changed by 0.0 per cent in the Northwest Territories, 11.6 per cent in the Yukon and 8.3 in Nunavut.

Ontario is still the country’s most populous province, with a population of 12,851,821. The population of other provinces and territories: Quebec, 7,903,001; British Columbia, 4,400,057; Alberta, 3,645,257; Manitoba, 1,208,268; Saskatchewan, 1,033,381; Nova Scotia, 921,727; New Brunswick, 751,171; Newfoundland and Labrador, 514,536; Prince Edward Island, 140,204; Northwest Territories, 41,462; Yukon, 33,897 and Nunavut, 31,906.

Here is a local breakdown of census population information for communities in the Vancouver region:

Community
2011
2006
Per cent change

Vancouver
603,502
578,041
4.4

North Vancouver
84,412
82,562
2.2

West Vancouver
42,694
42,131
1.3

Burnaby
223,218
202,799
10.1

New Westminster
65,976
58,549
12.7

Coquitlam
126,456
114,565
10.4

Port Coquitlam
56,342
52,687
6.9

Port Moody
32,975
27,512
19.9

Richmond
190,473
174,461
9.2

Langley
104,177
93,726
11.2

Surrey
468,251
394,976
18.6

Semiahmoo
108
109
-0.9

White Rock
19,339
18,755
3.1

Delta
99,863
96,635
3.3

Tsawwassen
720
762
-5.5

Pitt Meadows
17,736
15,6231
3.5

Maple Ridge
76,052
68,949
10.3

Chilliwack
77,936
69,217
12.6

Abbotsford
133,497
124,258
7.4

Whistler
9,824
9,248
6.2

Gibsons
4,437
4,182
6.1

Powell River
13,165
12,957
1.6

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