Population Growth (Nanaimo)

In 2016, the City of Nanaimo’s population was 90,504, representing an 8% increase from the 2011 Census. Nanaimo finished above the national growth rate of 5%, and the provincial growth rate of 5.6%. Nanaimo CA population for 2019 is estimated at 114,673 based on BC Statistics. The City of Nanaimo is the most populated municipality on Vancouver Island, outside of Saanich and Victoria. Based on future population projections, strong growth is expected to continue in the Nanaimo area. Population growth trends for the Nanaimo CA (includes Lantzville areas A & C) are detailed in the chart below. In the 2016 Census, the median age in Nanaimo was 45.9 years old. In comparison, the median age of British Columbia was 43.0 and Canada 41.2.

Source: BC Stats, Stats Canada

Growth is affected by factors such as migration levels, housing costs, work opportunities and the economy in other parts of the country. Between 2015 and 2041, the population of BC is estimated to increase by over 30% to 6.1 million. Nanaimo is expected to grow by 32% to 144,246 residents by 2041. The major driving force for growth in Nanaimo will be migration.

Population Growth (Nanaimo Regional District)

The 2016 census population for the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) was 155,698, a 6.2% increase over 2011 when the population was 146,574. BC Statistics estimates the Regional District of Nanaimo population for 2019 to be 162,727. The RDN is expected to grow by 25% to 200, 811 residents by 2041. Growth will continue in the region.

Source: BC Stats, Stats Canada


Migration is the result of newcomers to the area. While migration to the area softened around the 2008 financial crisis, Nanaimo has since been seeing an increase in the number of people moving here from within BC and other Provinces. There are three components to migration:

“Intra-provincial migrants” move to the Nanaimo area from within British Columbia. From July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, Nanaimo has seen a steady increase in migrants from other parts of British Columbia. Nanaimo had 6,332 people moving here and 4,488 moving elsewhere leading to a net gain of 1,844 persons.

“Inter-provincial migrants” move to the Nanaimo area from other parts of Canada (outside of BC). From July 2017 to June 2018, Nanaimo had 2,489 people moving here and 1,551 moving elsewhere for a net gain of 938 persons. The Nanaimo Regional District has been a net importer of migrants, 28% of net migrants originated from other provinces. The trend is similar for BC, however the percentage of total migrants from other provinces has been declining in recent years. For the Province of BC 12% of new migrants were from other parts of Canada.

“International immigrants” move to Nanaimo from outside of Canada. Between 2017 to 2018, 530 (approximately 16%) of the newcomers to the area were from other countries. All migration figures below are based on a one- year period between July 1st to June 30th.

Source: BC Stats

Net migration to British Columbia from other countries has been growing over the last five years.  Net migration to BC from other provinces slowed significantly in 2017-18 compared to the previous three years. The Nanaimo region continues to capture a significant share of the total provincial migrants.

Source: BC Stats