Tumbler Ridge population drops nearly ten percent

Driveway unplowed, vehicle unlicensed and house uninhabited is becoming a common sight around town.

Driveway unplowed, vehicle unlicensed and house uninhabited is becoming a common sight around town.

Trent Ernst, Editor

Tumbler Ridge featured the biggest decline in population of any municipality in the province between July of 2014 and July of 2015, according to the latest statistics from the Government of BC.

According to BC Stats, Tumbler Ridge’s population dropped nearly ten percent year over year, with 284 fewer people at the end of the period compared to the start. That’s a 9.7 percent decrease.

In 2014, Tumbler Ridge had an estimated 2,931 people living in town, but by 2015, that had dropped to 2,647.That’s the lowest the population has been since 2008, when the estimated population was 2,650.

Since 2001, when the population was 1,866, the population of Tumbler Ridge has been generally on the rise. That is, until now.  In terms of absolute number, that’s only a fraction of the loss suffered by Prince George, which lost 1,958 people in 365 days. However, because Prince George’s population is so much larger than here, the city only lost 2.7 percent of its overall population.

Dawson Creek and Fort St. John also both saw population decreases on the year. Fort St. John lost 340 people, or 1.61 percent of its population, while Dawson Creek lost 304, or about 2.48 percent of their overall population.

This caused the overall population for the Peace Region to drop from 64,806 to 63,918, or a loss of 1.4 percent. That’s the first drop the region has seen since 2003.

Other municipalities saw smaller losses. Chetwynd lost 46 people, while Hudson Hope lost only two. Pouce Coupe lost 18.

Only Taylor saw an increase, with 21 new people, bumping their population up by 1.4 percent. The rural areas also saw the population rise.

Provincially, of municipalities over 5000, the biggest drop, percentage wise, was Quesnel, losing 6.16 percent of its total population, or 601 people.

Overall, the population for the Province grew from 4,638,415 to 4,683,139, an increase of one percent.

These are, of course, estimates, as the next full census will be this year. BC Stats produces these estimates using the Generalized Estimation System, using indicators as health client registry and residential hydro hook-ups to gauge population growth and loss.