Cranbrook’s population has grown by 2.3 per cent over the past five years, according to the latest census data released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday, Feb. 9. (Barry Coulter photo)

Cranbrook’s population has grown by 2.3 per cent over the past five years, according to the latest census data released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday, Feb. 9. (Barry Coulter photo)

Cranbrook grows 2.3 per cent, up to 20,499

British Columbia’s population has increased to 5,000,879

Cranbrook’s population has grown by a healthy but modest 2.3 per cent over the past five years, according to the latest census data released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday, Feb. 9.

As of 2021, the official population of the city itself now stands at 20,499, up about 450 from the last figures from 2016.

Included in the data are the total number of private dwellings (9.058), the private dwellings “occupied by usual residents” (8,780), the land area in square kilometres (31.97), and the population density per square kilometre (641.2)

When you take Area C into account — the rural area around the city that stretches from Fort Steele to Yahk — the population has increased 3.7 per cent, to 27,040. That’s up from 26,068 in 2016. These thousands of people live in 4,563.87 square kilometres of land, at 5.9 people per square kilometre.

The city between the two mountain ranges is still the largest in southeast BC, by far, but Cranbrook’s neighbours are growing at a much faster rate.

• Kimberley’s latest population count is 8,115, up 9.3 per cent (7,425 in 2016).

• Fernie now comprises 6,320 souls, up 17.1 per cent (5,396 in 2016).

• Creston’s population is up 4.1 per cent to 5,583.

• Nelson grew to 11,106 people, up 5.1 per cent from 2016’s 10.572.

Trail’s population eked upwards by 2.7 per cent, to 7,920.

Up in Invermere, the official 2021 population is 3,917, up 15.5 per cent from 2016.

The population of British Columbia has grown by 7.6 per cent since 2016, figures released by Statistics Canada for the 2021 Census show.

Meanwhile, according to Statistics Canada, British Columbia’s population has increased to 5,000,879 people, up from 4,648,055 in 2016.

Canada’s overall population grew 5.2 per cent to 36,991,981. B.C.’s population growth was beaten only by the Yukon, which grew by 12.1 per cent, and Prince Edward Island, which grew by eight per cent.

B.C. is still the third largest population in Canada.

According to Statistics Canada, the country remains the fastest growing in the G7, at nearly twice the rate of the organization. The main driver of population growth, the agency noted, was immigration, not fertility. Immigrants account for around 80 per cent of new people in Canada between 2016 and 2021.

The agency noted that the population grew fastest in 2019 and slowed to its lowest rate in 2020 as the pandemic hit, closing Canada’s borders.

Statistics Canada said some of that slowdown might be pandemicinduced. The agency points to one of its studies done late last year that suggested adults under 50 wanted to have fewer children than previously planned.