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BCTF Research Report

SECTION IV
2005-SD-02

British Columbia school-age-population projections, to 2013

By Colleen Hawkey
Research Analyst

June 2005 According to BC STATS (Ministry of Management Services), the population of British Columbia is getting larger and older, and between 2001 and 2031 will have increased by almost 36%. However, the population of school-age British Columbians will follow a quite different pattern: “The population of school age (5–17 years) will decline slightly over the next 10 years or so, but then will begin a slow increase up to current levels by 2031.” (British Columbia population projections, accessed on the BC STATS web site at http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/data/pop/pop/Project/P30BCIntro.pdf, on June 13, 2005.)

Projections of public-school-aged headcount enrolments by district are available for a 17-year period (1997 to 2013). According to this source (Ministry of Education Standard Report 1558B, Projection report public school aged headcount (excludes adults), June 15, 2004), the public-school-age population will decrease slowly over the projection period. Between 2004 and 2013 there will be a 6.8% decrease. See the tables details.

Table 1: Provincial public-school-age population projections (headcount)

(2004 and subsequent years are forecast)

  Elementary Headcount Year-over-year % Change Elementary Secondary Headcount Year-over-year % Change Secondary Total School Age Year-over-year # Change Year-over-year % Change Total
1997 359,863   247,618   607,481    
1998 355,265 -1.3% 251,316 1.5% 606,581 -900 -0.15%
1999 354,998 -0.1% 251,167 -0.1% 606,165 -416 -0.07%
2000 352,089 -0.8% 250,251 -0.4% 602,340 -3,825 -0.63%
2001 348,545 -1.0% 249,946 -0.1% 598,491 -3,849 -0.64%
2002 341,201 -2.1% 248,632 -0.5% 589,833 -8,658 -1.45%
2003 334,754 -1.9% 248,003 -0.3% 582,757 -7,076 -1.20%
2004 329,583 -1.5% 247,890 0.0% 577,473 -5,284 -0.91%
2005 324,286 -1.6% 248,320 0.2% 572,606 -4,867 -0.84%
2006 319,312 -1.5% 248,250 0.0% 567,562 -5,044 -0.88%
2007 314,745 -1.4% 247,842 -0.2% 562,587 -4,975 -0.88%
2008 310,303 -1.4% 247,340 -0.2% 557,643 -4,944 -0.88%
2009 306,402 -1.3% 246,153 -0.5% 552,555 -5,088 -0.91%
2010 304,830 -0.5% 243,129 -1.2% 547,959 -4,596 -0.83%
2011 304,782 0.0% 239,388 -1.5% 544,170 -3,789 -0.69%
2012 305,764 0.3% 235,187 -1.8% 540,951 -3,219 -0.59%
2013 307,799 0.7% 230,377 -2.0% 538,176 -2,775 -0.51%
Note: Excludes home school and adult students.
Source: MoE SR 1558B, June 15, 2004.
Secondary enrolments will decrease by 7.1% between 2004 and 2013, and elementary enrolments by 6.6% over the period. District data show that there are wide variations in projected changes, with eight districts (see Table 2) expected to show increases, ranging from 1% (Haida Gwaii-Queen Charlotte) to over 20% (Stikine).

Table 2: Districts expected to show increases in public-school-age population, for 2004 and 2013

Dist # District 2004 projection 2013 projection % change
50 Haida Gwaii-Queen Charlotte             831             839 1.0%
75 Mission          7,314          7,476 2.2%
34 Abbotsford        19,556        20,236 3.5%
36 Surrey        62,582        65,345 4.4%
41 Burnaby        24,853        26,356 6.0%
40 New Westminster          6,123          6,772 10.6%
93 Francophone Education Authority          3,214          3,567 11.0%
87 Stikine             302             363 20.2%
Source: Source: MoE SR 1558B, June 15, 2004.
As shown in Table 3, enrolments in 52 of the 60 districts in the province are projected to decline. Southeast Kootenay is expected to experience the largest decrease, of 24.5%, from 2004 to 2013. Saanich (-24.1%), Kootenay-Columbia (-23.6%), Alberni (-23.6%), Delta (-23.3%), Powell River (-22.2%), Nicola-Similkameen (-20.3%), and Campbell River (-20.3%) are also expected to experience 20% decreases.

Table 3: Provincial public-school-age population projections (headcount), by district, for 2004 and 2013

# District 2004 projection 2013 projection % change
5 Southeast Kootenay          5,981          4,515 -24.5%
6 Rocky Mountain          3,729          3,153 -15.4%
8 Kootenay Lake          5,783          5,071 -12.3%
10 Arrow Lakes             683             625 -8.5%
19 Revelstoke          1,374          1,265 -7.9%
20 Kootenay-Columbia          4,773          3,645 -23.6%
22 Vernon          9,264          8,747 -5.6%
23 Central Okanagan        22,001        21,593 -1.9%
27 Cariboo-Chilcotin          6,559          5,390 -17.8%
28 Quesnel          4,228          3,404 -19.5%
33 Chilliwack        12,451        12,398 -0.4%
34 Abbotsford        19,556        20,236 3.5%
35 Langley        19,423        18,678 -3.8%
36 Surrey        62,582        65,345 4.4%
37 Delta        16,833        12,919 -23.3%
38 Richmond        22,669        19,264 -15.0%
39 Vancouver        55,166        54,292 -1.6%
40 New Westminster          6,123          6,772 10.6%
41 Burnaby        24,853        26,356 6.0%
42 Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows        15,164        13,680 -9.8%
43 Coquitlam        31,692        30,261 -4.5%
44 North Vancouver        17,612        14,749 -16.3%
45 West Vancouver          6,120          5,069 -17.2%
46 Sunshine Coast          4,053          3,764 -7.1%
47 Powell River          2,690          2,092 -22.2%
48 Howe Sound          4,420          4,027 -8.9%
49 Central Coast             317             297 -6.3%
50 Haida Gwaii-Queen Charlotte             831             839 1.0%
51 Boundary          1,823          1,680 -7.8%
52 Prince Rupert          2,824          2,439 -13.6%
53 Okanagan Similkameen          2,851          2,585 -9.3%
54 Bulkley Valley          2,706          2,293 -15.3%
57 Prince George        16,011        13,244 -17.3%
58 Nicola-Similkameen          2,865          2,282 -20.3%
59 Peace River South          4,682          3,900 -16.7%
60 Peace River North          5,800          5,543 -4.4%
61 Greater Victoria        20,389        19,564 -4.0%
62 Sooke          8,894          8,083 -9.1%
63 Saanich          8,680          6,591 -24.1%
64 Gulf Islands          1,615          1,549 -4.1%
67 Okanagan Skaha          7,164          6,428 -10.3%
68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith        15,735        15,050 -4.4%
69 Qualicum          5,120          4,871 -4.9%
70 Alberni          4,617          3,543 -23.3%
71 Comox Valley          9,338          7,775 -16.7%
72 Campbell River          6,278          5,003 -20.3%
73 Kamloops/Thompson        15,372        13,946 -9.3%
74 Gold Trail          1,943          1,764 -9.2%
75 Mission          7,314          7,476 2.2%
78 Fraser-Cascade          2,246          2,002 -10.9%
79 Cowichan Valley          9,462          8,047 -15.0%
81 Fort Nelson          1,201          1,050 -12.6%
82 Coast Mountains          6,309          5,423 -14.0%
83 North Okanagan-Shuswap          7,681          6,458 -15.9%
84 Vancouver Island West             507             447 -11.8%
85 Vancouver Island North          1,913          1,605 -16.1%
87 Stikine             302             363 20.2%
91 Nechako Lakes          5,208          4,583 -12.0%
92 Nisga'a             479             576 20.3%
93 Francophone Education Authority          3,214          3,567 11.0%
99 Province       577,473       538,176 -6.8%
Source: MoE SR 1558B, June 15, 2004
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