Immigration may be powering population growth and changing the look of communities in the rest of Canada and British Columbia — but not so much in Nakusp.
The latest Statistics Canada census results released last week show that compared to a growing, multi-ethnic country as a whole, Nakusp is predominantly Caucasian.
The 2016 census shows about 22 per cent of Canadians are immigrants — the highest share of the population since 1921. In B.C., immigrants make up about 28 per cent of the population, which is about 1.3 million people.
However, that immigration wave seems to have hit a wall at Nakusp. Of the 1,190 people the census counted here, only 55 identified as immigrants — about 4.6 per cent of the population. And of them, not one arrived here after 2001.
One-third of B.C. residents reported to be visible minorities — the highest rate compared to other provinces, and a trend Statistics Canada predicts will be reflected in the rest of the country by 2036. But ethnically too, Nakusp remains a predominantly white, European community.
Only 16 per cent of the population identified as being of non-European origin.
Of the 1,190 people in the community, 990 people claimed European origin: 595 British, 320 Scottish, and 205 Irish. 100 people said they were ethnically French, with the rest coming from eastern, northern, or western Europe (other than France).
About 10 people identified as coming from Latin America, 60 from Asia, 55 from Southeast and East Asia. No respondents identified as coming from Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East or South Asia. Japanese remains the largest visible minority group, with 45 people self-identifying.
That’s a far cry from the rest of the country. Nearly half of major metropolitan areas in Canada are comprised of visible minorities, noticeably Toronto and Vancouver, said Doug Norris, chief demographer at Environics Analytics. But he added the figures are also on the rise in places like Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, and Calgary.
“Places that people didn’t think were culturally diverse are becoming now culturally diverse,” he said.
About 90 people in Nakusp identified as either First Nations or Metis, or about 7.5 per cent of the population.
The 2016 Census also shows Nakusp grew slightly, by 36 people, or 3.3 per cent, but it’s an older population. There are more than double the number of people over the age of 65 than under the age of 14. A third of the village’s population is between the ages of 55 and 75. The median age- the number where there are equal numbers of people above and below a line- is 50.4 years old, far higher than the 41.2 average of the Canadian population as a whole.
Other notable numbers from the census:
35,151,728: Canadian population on census day 2016.
5: Percentage increase in the population between 2011 and 2016.
16.9: Proportion of the national population over age 65, a historic high.
41: Average age of the Canadian population.
34.7: Percentage of people age 20 to 34 living with their parents, a historic high. See more >
4.8 million: Canadians, including children, living below the poverty line in 2015.
73,000: Number of same-sex couples in Canada.
14.5: Percentage of Canadian seniors over age 65 living in low income in 2015.
With notes from Black Press, Jordan Press and Canadian Press