The census statistics for 2011 were released on Feb. 8 and show the city of Williams Lake has seen a slight increase in population from 2006.
At that time, the population was 10,744 and in 2011, it was 10,832 — an increase of 88 people.
But a second statistic table, which adds an almost seven square kilometres to the area being represented, shows a decrease from 12,475 in 2006 to 12,408 in 2011 — a difference of 67.
That second statistic is slightly larger than the city boundary itself, but tries to capture areas close to the city that are a little more densely populated than outlying areas. The first stat covers an area of 33.13 square kilometres while the second covers an area of 40.36 square kilometres.
“On top of that, we build another geography called census agglomeration that’s made up of municipalities, like Williams Lake city, and a number of surrounding reserves or communities,” explains Peter L. Murphy, chief of the Geographic Concepts Geography Division for the Informatics and Methodology Branch at Statistics Canada.
In this round of the census, that census agglomeration area saw a larger decrease in the numbers for the region, dropping from 18,760 in 2006 down to 18,490 in 2011, a 270 decrease.
Those census agglomerations are meant to reflect concentrations of population, but also attempts to show an association of clustered municipalities.
Responding to the census stats on Wednesday, Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook says it’s always great to see growth even if it’s very minimal because it shows the community is holding its own. “It’s very significant because even though we’ve gone through tough economic times we’ve maintained that bit of growth,” Cook says, adding the increase in the number of private dwellings is also a positive indicator. In total, there were 7,630 private dwellings occupied by usual residents in Williams Lake in 2011. The change in private dwellings occupied by usual residents was up from 2006 by 1.1 per cent. For Canada as a whole, the number of private dwellings occupied by usual residents increased 7.1 per cent.
While the initial stats have been released, Cook says what she’s really looking forward to seeing is the detailed information that Statistics Canada will release in May, with specifics about the community around age and sex of citizens.
The Cariboo Regional District, representing an area of 80,629.34 square kilometres, the second largest regional district in the province, also saw a slight population increase, from 62,190 in 2006 to 62,392 in 2011.
CRD Chair Al Richmond says there have been some increases in the north and decreases in the south, but overall the numbers are holding.
“These are statistics we’ll deal with in the coming years when we’re applying for grants,” he says. “We’re pleased that our population is up.”