Wednesday, May 09, 2012

BC Population Projections and Cohorts

Something to consider is the projected increase in population of BC in the coming decades and what types of housing will be required. Caveats abound, not least from the projectors (BC Stats), nonetheless I have graphed their projections below by age category. I have included the "implied migration minus deaths" in the first graph, it can be seen that migration patterns do not look out of line, and note that over the next 25 years the mode will shift markedly lower due to in-migration of members of the 20-45 year old cohort, then start trending higher again.

For the purposes of housing mix discussion, for discussion only, I have included five cohorts below:

  • 20-65 working age
  • 35-75 family with child dependents
  • 0-20 dependents
  • 25-35
  • 75+ downsizing
There can be debate about whether these cohorts are appropriate for their designations. I am assuming
  • Family with child dependents will be seeking, and remaining in, family style housing from ages 35-75. A contention, perhaps, here is that I have extended this age to 75, if only to question how many households will indeed downsize upon retirement and how many will remain in their houses until required to move. This age could be lowered if it turns out households downsize sooner. It is unclear to me this downsizing will occur en masse as some pundits have claimed so I'll take the other tack for argument's sake. 
  • The 25-35 cohort will be primarily childless, or with young children in which smaller accommodations are suitable. This cohort will demand smaller dwellings, either suites or apartments.
  • There will be a baseline of families who, due to economic, family size, or lifestyle reasons, choose smaller accommodations than the standard 20th century Canadian pattern. Nonetheless these will be a baseline subset of housing mix and I am assuming there will still be significant traditional demand for dwelling size as before.
Here are the cohorts:

A few observations:

  • The working age population as a percentage of total population will decrease but not substantially due primarily to immigration.
  • The 35-75 cohort will continue to increase in percentage until 2020 at which point it will plateau and then start to decrease.
  • The 25-35 cohort will increase until mid-decade and will decrease as a percentage of total population.
  • The 75+ cohort will start increasing faster starting about 2020
These data are missing some pieces to draw any conclusions regarding future housing mix, not least the actual need for family-style housing embedded within the 35-75 cohort (eg not all people in this age range will have children), nonetheless there are some starts on the road to understanding what housing types BC will require over the coming decades, and, perhaps more importantly, what housing types it won't.

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