With the first batch of 2016 census data released today, population trends for the Gulf Islands are revealed.
On Salt Spring Island, the year-round population jumped to 10,557, up from 10,234 in 2011, for a 3.2 per cent increase. That’s a slower rate of growth than seen from 2006 to 2011, when the population grew by 6.2 per cent.
South Pender Island had the biggest growth spurt among the islands, adding 34 residents — to hit the 235 mark — for a 16.9 per cent hike.
Saturna Island took second spot in growth percentage, at 5.7 per cent, as its population reached 354, up from 335 in 2011.
North Pender’s population added 28 individuals to reach 2,067. That number represents a 1.6 per cent growth rate.
Galiano and Mayne islands both saw a drop in population, continuing a trend that began with the 2011 census.
The 2016 count found 1,044 residents on Galiano, down from 1,138 — an 8.3 per cent drop. In 2006, the census counted 1,258 Galiano residents.
Mayne Island’s year-round population is now pegged at 949, an 11.4 per cent reduction from the 2011 number of 1,071.
The Galiano-Mayne losses contrasted dramatically with the 2006 census, which recorded a 26 per cent growth rate between 2001 and 2006 on Mayne Island and 17.5 per cent on Galiano.