Feb 09 2012

What’s the Deal with Vancouver’s Population?

Published by at 9:29 pm under CityView,Vancouver,Vancouver politics

Vancouver-based journalist, blogger and city-watcher Frances Bula has some good questions following the release of new census data. Best question of the bunch:

I’d like to hear some explanation from the data nerds on why the city of Vancouver’s population is only 603,000 when all the provincial projections have been pegging it at around 630,000 for the last couple of years. Were the projections based on the numbers of units built and, in fact, those units are not occupied by people counted in the census?

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One response so far

One Response to “What’s the Deal with Vancouver’s Population?”

  1. Bernard von Schulmannon 11 Feb 2012 at 8:17 pm

    This has been an on going problem. BC Stats works from various estimates but does no census. Stats Canada does the census and assumes it is 100% accurate, which it is not.

    While in theory the census is supposed to count every in the country, this never ever happens. There is a margin of undercounting all over the country and certain provinces have always been undercounted.

    Vancouver the city has a long term problem with how well people are counted in the census. This is especially bad with the transient population. This problem goes back decades, it in fact goes back to the 1930s. Typically the estimate has been that BC has been 3-5% undercounted and Vancouver is higher than that.

    Next, the census is only done in English and French, this has a long term systemic problem with getting good results among people who do not speak either language well. Vancouver has always had a significant number of people that do not speak either French or English.

    The census takers are lowly paid part time workers with no formal training or understanding of demographics. In the case of Vancouver, getting reasonable capable people in 2011 to do the census was harder than normal.

    Meanwhile BC Stats works for a whole host of data sets to make an estimate of the population. Because they are working from more sources and regularly update their data, their estimate tends to be closer to the actual population than the census.

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