BC Stats recently reported that Prince George's population shrank by 2.7% last year. I was shocked then became angry when I seen this. These stats play a pretty important roll in the helth of the community. Everything from government funding to potential investors look at these stats so a declining population is bad news. But lets take a closer look at some other statistics:
Our vacancy rate for rental properties while up from last year is still extremely low.
Housing starts remain strong and the sale of new houses has remained strong. I've talked to one larger builder that said they cannot keep up with the demand.
Our real estate market also points to anythign but a declining population. Sales remain high and we continue to see modest increases in prices, somethign you do not see in city with a declining population. Interestingly if we lost close to 3% of our population one would assume that their would be a rise in the number of houses for sale and yet we have the lowest inventory of houses for sale since 2007 and even at that its only marginally more than that boom year. Beyond that year the mls data does not show any years where we have had less houses for sale.
While average family sizes in Canada are getting smaller, School district 57 had an increase in the number of students from 12,654 students to 12,728 students. Not a large increase but certainly not what one would expect to see if your population just shrank by 2.7%.
You don't need to look at these statistics though to see that there is something wrong with BC stats numbers, just drive around the city. There is way more traffic just about every where you go.
The bigger problem I would suggest is that the way BC Stats is getting their data is obviously not reflecting what is actually occuring. This is concerning, because from my point of view Prince George is growing!