From the Seattle Transit Blog:

What are some comparatives for Vancouver?  Here are figures from the 2016 Census for the City of Vancouver, provided by Chris Robertson at the City of Vancouver. 

  • The 2016 Census population for the City of Vancouver is 631,486 (compared to 704,000 in Seattle).
  • There has been a population increase in the City of Vancouver of 4.6% (27,984 people) from 2011.  (That’s about 28,000 people over the last five years in Vancouver, compared to 21,000 in Seattle over the last year.)
  • From 2006 to 2011, the City of Vancouver’s growth rate was 4.4% (25,461 people) – so there has been an increase in the growth rate of 0.2%.
  • The overall growth rate of Vancouver’s Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) was 6.5% (150,103 people) between 2011 and 2016.
  • The Census shows the City has the highest population density in Canada with 5,493 people per square kilometre. Among larger municipalities, the next three with the highest population density are all located within Montreal’s CMA.



  1. Note that the estimates are just that – the US only have an actual census every ten years, and the next won’t be until 2020. Using the same link in the post to get the data, King County, which is roughly equivalent in population to Metro Vancouver, added 177,526 people from July 2011 to July 2016, ending up at 2,149,970.
    The population increase in Metro Vancouver from 2011 to 2016 was from 2,313,328 to 2,463,431, an increase of 150,103.
    King County is 5,975 square kilometers, Metro Vancouver is less than half that area at 2,882 square kilometers, so Metro Vancouver has a much greater population density than King County.
    Over that same 5 years the City of Seattle was estimated to have added 82,029 people – so nearly half the growth in King County was in the City of Seattle. As your post notes, the City of Vancouver added 27,984 over the same 5 years.
    Seattle is much less densely populated than Vancouver – Vancouver is 11,661 hectares in size, Seattle is 21,756 hectares.
    What’s interesting is that King County added only an estimated 54,190 dwellings from 2011 to 2016, to reach 910,098 occupied dwellings, while Metro Vancouver added 69,589 dwellings to get to 960,894 occupied dwellings.

    1. Terming those all “occupied dwellings” is a stretch, as it has been shown some Vancouver neighbourhoods have over 20% of the units sitting empty.

      1. If there is nobody living in the property, it isn’t counted in the ‘occupied dwellings’ category. The numbers quoted are for occupied dwellings – there are also additional unoccupied dwellings.

      2. The 20% vacancy figure is highly suspect due to the inexact census methodology. Still, 80% occupancy isn’t so bad, if the figures are to be believed. Nonetheless, the 20+% vacancy levels caused by unoccupied towers under construction ay Joyce, Metrotown and Marine Gateway will plummet by the next census once people move in.

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