Richmond population grown by 9 per cent

British Columbia's population continues to grow rapidly, with new residents preferring urban metropolitan areas rather than rural centres.

And while Metro Vancouver is still taking its share of the growth, Squamish and Chilliwack metropolitan areas saw the biggest gains in population between 2006 and 2011, according to Statistics Canada.

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Richmonds population has grown by 9.2 per cent in that time. The citys population now stands at 190,473, which means 1,473.5 people living per square kilometre.

The latest Census figures show B.C.'s population increased by seven per cent between 2006-2011, pushing the population to 4.4 million, and making B.C. the second fastest growing province next to Alberta. The Western provinces welcomed 30.7 per cent of Canada's population growth for the five-year period, for the first time surpassing that of the Atlantic provinces and Quebec combined (306 per cent).

Canada's population grew by 5.9 per cent in the five-year period to 33.5 million. The growth credited to the rise to immigrants, is the highest of the G8 nations.

In B.C., the Squamish metropolitan area posted the strongest growth at 14. 6 per cent, followed by Chilliwack at 11.9 per cent and Kelowna at 10 per cent and Metro Vancouver at 9.6 per cent. On the other end of the scale, Prince Rupert and Williams Lake were among the cities with the biggest population declines.

Peter Liang, a spokesman for Statistics Canada, noted the populations are different for individual cities. Langford, near Victoria, for instance, posted the strongest population gain at 30.1 per cent, followed by Lake Country in Kelowna, Port Moody (19.9 per cent) and Surrey at 18.6 per cent. Pitt Meadows was at 13.5 per cent, while cities like New Westminster, Burnaby, Langley, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge saw a 10-12 per cent increase.

The city of Vancouver's growth rate was at 4.4 per cent - with most of the new population settling downtown, Mt. Pleasant and Fairview.

Meanwhile, some areas of Surrey, Langley and Port Moody and Coquitlam posted population growth of more than 100 per cent between 2006 and 2011 , according to the results. In Surrey's Clayton area, the population more than tripled from 4,132 to 14,034, while a section of Port Moody saw its population grow from 1,276 to 3,684 since 2006.

For more on this story go to Vancouver Sun

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