Over the past three decades, most rural BC communities have undergone a significant demographic shift.

From 1960 thru to the early 1980s, most of rural BC had a much younger demographic profile than the provincial average. The population of many rural communities was dominated by younger families with fewer seniors. However, since the mid 1980s, there have been significant changes in rural BC – a decline in employment in the natural resource industries; a continued out-migration of youth; newer immigrants preferring to locate in urban communities; and population decline in some rural communities. Indeed by 2013, of the 28 Local Health Areas (LHAs) in the southern interior only three – Fernie, Golden and Revelstoke – had percentages of their 56+ age population that were LESS than provincial average. Only rural First Nations communities are seeing a significant increase in their younger aged populations. Population projections out to 2030 see a continuation and strengthening of these trends. The result is that the majority of rural BC communities will have a “older” demographic than urban centres.

This will have a significant impact on housing and seniors’ services issues and demand in rural communities.

For more information please see SIBAC’s documents:

Aging of Rural BC Handout

Rural Aging & Housing Phase 1 Summary Report

Rural Aging & Housing Research Compendium