The region's total Census population was about 46,600 in 2016, an increase of over 2,100 people (4.75%) since 2011. This is slightly slower growth than the rest of the Regional District of Nanaimo (5.9%) and BC overall (5.6%).
The greatest population increase in the region was in Parksville, which added nearly 1,000 residents (a 9.0% increase). In percentage terms the fastest growing part of the Parksville-Qualicum Beach region was Area F, including Errington, Coombs and Hilliers, which expanded by nearly 750 people (11.1%). The other sub-areas within Parksville-Qualicum Beach Region all grew at a more modest rate.
Census Population and Growth, Parksville-Qualicum Beach Region Communities
Parksville-Qualicum Beach Region's 5.4% population growth from 2006 to 2011 ranked 4th in a comparison group of other similar BC Communities, trailing only the Courtenay Census Agglomeration on Vancouver Island.
All of the communities in the comparison group are in the Kootenays, the Okanagan/Shuswap or on Vancouver Island and therefore all are appealing for retirement and recreation, which is helping to support sustained population growth even when traditional resource industries have been declining in many of these locations. The Port Alberni area is included in the group for its close proximity to the Parksville-Qualicum Beach Region but is least like the other communities in the retiree/recreation market, largely explaining its virtually flat population growth in recent years.
Looking over a longer time horizon, The Parksville-Qualicum Beach's population (as defined by the Qualicum Local Health Area, which includes less than 500 people on Lasqueti Island) has expanded by an average of 2.8% per year over the 25 years from 1986 to 2011. This is easily the fastest growth rate in the comparison group in the last quarter century.
This history of strong growth is solid evidence of the Parksville Qualicum Beach Region's continuing appeal as a place to live. The steady influx of new residents adds to the dynamic regional market and deepens the area's vital human capital assets.