VICTORIA – B.C. recorded a slight net loss of people migrating to other provinces in the first quarter of 2011, according to preliminary data compiled by Statistics Canada.
B.C.'s total population continues to grow, reaching more than 4.5 million as of April 1. But for the first quarterly period since 2003, the number of people moving to other provinces exceeded those moving from other provinces into B.C.
The net loss was only 98 people, with 12,598 people moving to B.C. and 12,696 moving out in the first three months of the year. B.C. experienced consistent net loss through interprovincial migration from 1997 to 2003, an often-cited statistic in B.C. political debates about the effect of NDP government policies in the province during the 1990s.
B.C. saw its largest net loss of 893 people to Alberta, with 6,704 people going east and 5,811 moving west in the first three months of 2011. B.C. recorded net gains of 372 people from Saskatchewan and 442 from Manitoba from January to March.
BC Stats, which tracks the figures, warns that preliminary figures are estimates and won't be finalized until September.
International immigration continues to add to B.C.'s population, with a net 7,328 immigrants arriving in B.C. in the first quarter of this year. That's 15 per cent of the total immigration to Canada during that time, with B.C. holding its third-place position behind Ontario and Quebec.
B.C.'s population grew by 47,814 people during the 12 months prior to April 1, with a quarter of the growth due to natural increase – births minus deaths – and most of the remainder moving here from other provinces.