Despite tough economic times in the last few years, Kelowna continues to be a popular spot for people looking for a place to live.
According to figures released by Statistics Canada from the 2011 national census, the Kelowna metropolitan area (Peachland to Oyama) grew by 10.8 per cent in the five years between 2006 and 2011, easily outpacing the national growth rate of 5.9 per cent and the B.C. rate of seven per cent.
The population of the Central Okanagan is now pegged at 179,839, up 17,572 residents from 2006.
The city of Kelowna saw a jump in its population of 9.6 per cent between census years and now has a population of 117,312, while Lake Country grew 21.9 per cent to 11,708, West Kelowna grew 13.5 per cent to 30,892 and and Peachland grew by 6.5 peer cent to 5,200. The population of the two Westbank First Nation reserves on the Westside grew 13.9 per cent to 7,068 during the time period.
Statistics Canada released the 2011 census population figures Wednesday morning, saying most of the country’s growth in the last five took place in Western Canada.
The Kelowna metropolitan area had the fourth highest growth rate of any major urban centre in the country after Calgary (12.6 per cent), Edmonton (12.1 per cent) and Saskatoon (11.4 per cent).
But it was not just the Central Okanagan that saw increases. In the north, Greater Vernon grew to 55,584 people, a 5.7 per cent increase, with the Vernon itself growing to 35,979, an increase of six per cent.
Growth was not as strong in the south Okanagan—Penticton grew by three per cent to 32,877—the greater Penticton area, which includes Summerland, grew 2.6 per cent to 42,367.
The Okanagan as a whole now has a population of 280,784, according to the census, an increase of 8.4 per cent.
Nationally, for the first time, the population of B.C. and the Prairie provinces exceeded that of the Atlantic provinces and Quebec.
The population of Canada is now 33.5 million people.