FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — According to data from the 2016 Census released by Statistics Canada last week, the number of immigrants moving to the B.C. Peace Region has more than doubled since the last census five years earlier.
The Peace River Regional District saw a total of 1,570 immigrants move to the region between 2011 and 2016, which is more than twice the 705 immigrants that arrived between 2016 and 2011. A total of 890 immigrants that have moved to the Peace in the last five years settled in Fort St. John, while 470 recent immigrants landed in Dawson Creek.
The percentage of immigrants in the B.C. Peace Region’s largest city nearly doubled in the last five years. Fort St. John’s immigrant population has exploded from 1,375 to 2,535 between censuses, which means that 9.1 percent of the city’s population was born outside of Canada, up from 5.2 percent in 2011. Dawson Creek’s immigrant population also increased, from 6.7 percent to 9.6 percent.
A large majority of people that moved to the Peace Region from elsewhere around the world came from the Philippines. Of the 1,570 immigrants to the PRRD in in the past five years, 675 came from the Philippines, 290 were from India, 95 came from the United States, 95 were former residents of South Africa, and 40 arrived from Nigeria.
Despite the recent increase, the percentage of immigrants that live in Northeast B.C. is still far lower than the rest of the province. B.C. as a whole now has nearly 1.3 million that were not born in Canada, which corresponds to 28.3 percent of the population.
Across the country, the percentage of foreign-born residents was at its highest percentage since the 1931 Census. Canada’s immigrant population totalled over 7.5 million in 2016, corresponding to 21.9 percent go the population. Just over 16 percent of Canada’s immigrant population arrived in the country in the last five years, a total of 1.2 million.