Census shows Aging population in Columbia Valley

Aging population in Invermere, outnumbers the students

The latest numbers released by Statistics Canada paint a silver-haired picture of Invermere.

The local senior population is a third higher than the youth population, and is four per cent higher than the provincial average.

Invermere’s senior population over 65 is now 24.6 per cent, compared to the provincial average of 20.6 per cent. The youth population is also close to the provincial average, sitting at 16.1 per cent compared to the provincial 14.9 per cent.

With more seniors will come more need for senior services within the community over time. Currently, one such service is a Better at Home program, co-ordinated by Jennifer Lindal. This nonmedical service to seniors is always on the lookout for more volunteers to do things such as friendly visits, light housekeeping and transportation.

“It’s taken awhile to build it,” Lindal says of the program. “It does in any community, but we are spread out so far here.”

Invermere has 1,610 men to 1,780 women, or roughly 47.4 per cent men to 52.4 per cent women.

Detailed population statistics did not show many surprises, with the biggest news still being the population explosion (first reported in The Pioneer when overall population numbers were released by Statistics Canada in March). Invermere’s overall population rose in the last five years, from 2,995 to 3,391, a 14.8 per cent increase.

Windermere has an even higher percentage of residents 65 years and older than Invermere, coming in at 29.7 per cent. Windermere’s breakdown sees only 10.5 per cent of residents 14 years of age and younger and 60.7 per cent ranging from 15 to 64 years old. The overall population count came in at 1,092 residents, up 11 residents from the 2011 census, a one per cent increase.

Radium Hot Springs had the closest to zero change, with a loss of one resident: 777 to 776, a population decrease of 0.1 per cent.

Radium Mayor Clara Reinhardt there is always movement in the community even though the census shows the population is consistent. Kids grow up and move out, seniors move into assisted living while at the same time, new people are certainly coming in.

“We see so much new stuff happening here and see so many new people coming in,” says Reinhardt. “Maybe the numbers aren’t growing, but it’s a pretty vibrant place right now.”

The East Kootenay’s Area F and G rose 3.5 per cent to 2,726 residents. Area G also increased 3.5 per cent, from 1,412 to 1,462 residents.

Canal Flats saw a population decrease of 6.6. per cent, from 715 in 2011 to 668 in 2016.

The census took place in May, 2016. General population counts were released in March, 2017. Detailed population numbers were just released last week. The next batch of Census data will look at families, households, marital status and language, to be released August. 2.