Further to the previous post on BC's population growth, I have parsed the interprovincial migration data, both absolute and change year-over-year, and displayed in graphical format:
From a historical perspective we can observe a few distinct eras in BC's population growth.
- Era 1 1985-1996: Population was driven not only by international immigration but also interprovincial migration, the major components being roughly equally distributed between Ontario, Alberta, and the remaining provinces.
- Era 2 1997-2003: International immigration drastically dropped, around the time of the Asian financial crisis and after Hong Kong repatriation, but notice net provincial inflows ex Alberta stalled and out-migration to Alberta accelerated significantly.
- Era 3 2004-2009: International immigration began to increase again and a steady, though reduced compared to Era 1, flow from other provinces returned.
- Era 4: 2010- : International immigration decreased significantly year-over-year. Inflows from other provinces are subdued compared to Eras 1 and 3.
Of course we cannot conclude the reasons for out-migrating from BC in Era 2 from these data. A dearth in construction witnessed in the last couple of years of the 1990s and first couple of years of the 2000s is at least partially explained by out-migration due to reduced demand for new dwellings. It is unclear whether or not the dearth in construction activity was a significant component instigating out-migration.
Another interesting note is that in 2008, when prices were dropping drastically, there was a surge in international immigration for the next 2 years, which would in itself fuel demand for housing. While not justifying high prices, there is some explanation why inventory has been rather muted until now. In 2011 inventory has remained subdued; the difference for 2011 is that, at least so far, in-migration is no longer keeping apace with recent years.