Gabriola’s population down since 2011

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, February 28 2017

Gabriola’s population has decreased for the second census in a row, dropping to 4,033 permanent residents in 2016, compared to 4,045 in 2011 and 4,050 in 2006. That’s a population drop of 0.3%, compared to the national increase of 5%.

Population density on Gabriola is 69.8 persons per square kilometer. That according to the first round of census results released by Statistics Canada. So far, the only other data available other than population is the breakdown comparing total number of private dwellings on Gabriola versus how many of those dwellings are occupied by permanent residents.

Gabriola has seen an increase in both the number of private dwellings (up 19 to 2,987 from 2011) and the number of those dwellings occupied by usual residents - up 68 to 2,143 from 2011.

Statistics Canada states that “usual residents” refers to a private dwelling in which a person or a group of persons is permanently residing.

Trustees Heather O’Sullivan and Melanie Mamoser reacted to the initial release of statistics, saying the breakdown of demographic data will provide a much clearer picture of the community. O’Sullivan pointed out the increase in number of dwellings occupied by usual residents: “Taken as a percentage, this means that in 2011, 70 per cent of dwellings were occupied by full-time residents, and that number rose slightly to 71.7 per cent in 2016.

“This may reflect property owners retiring to the island, or it may reflect something else. 

“Interestingly, it is the opposite trend to our very modest decrease in population. I think the numbers that will really interest many people are the age breakdown of our residents and the median age of our population (57.3 in 2011). Those numbers are coming in May.”

Mamoser said, “I’m excited to see the 2016 census numbers start to be released. The census provides invaluable information to inform public policy. What’s particularly exciting about this census is the return of the mandatory long-form questions after ten years, providing more detailed, statistically comparable, demographic information. 

“The LTC has a housing review project underway and the second phase includes an update of our housing needs assessment based on the new demographic information.”