PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – A study released today by the University of Northern BC’s Community Development Institute at the Northern B.C. Housing Conference says that the number of senior citizens in the Energetic City will more than double in twenty years.
The Northern B.C. Housing Study was funded by BC Housing, and looked at population and housing trends in Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Prince George, and other communities as far as 100 Mile House and Prince Rupert.
The study, which was authored by CDI co-Chair Maureen Morris, says that population growth across Northern BC will continue to be highly dependent on the state of the resource sector. Over the coming decades, the study says that communities will have to continue to prepare to adapt to long-term population shifts, as well as potential short-term periods of rapid population increases and decreases. Despite this, Fort St. John’s population is forecast to climb by almost 50% in the next twenty years.
The study also found that the population in Northern BC of those aged 65 or older will increase significantly over the next two decades. In Fort St. John the seniors population will more than double from six percent to fourteen percent of the regional population by 2036. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of seniors grew at almost twice the rate of the total population in the Fort St. John area.
The average household size in Northern BC is also changing as smaller households are becoming more prevalent. The increase in one and two-person households can be accounted for both by the growing number of “empty nest” seniors, and the number of young couples that are delaying having children. Fort St. John appears to be the outlier in this regard, as the study found that the city has the highest percentage of four or more person households, at 25 percent.