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Pemberton population youngest in Sea to Sky

Stats Canada released a new batch of census data on April 27 regarding age, gender and dwellings in the Sea to Sky
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Statistics Canada’s recently released census data helps paint a picture of the village’s steady growth.

Recently released Statistics Canada census data shows Pemberton has a younger population than provincial and national averages.

The average age in Pemberton is 35.4, compared to a provincial and national average of 43.1 and 41.9, respectively.

Pemberton’s average age is also the lowest in the Sea to Sky, with Whistler and Squamish both coming in at 37.9 and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) at 38.8.

In addition to age demographics, the findings of the data, released on April 27, also included gender and types of dwelling statistics.

In February, StatsCan released population data showing a 32.4-per-cent increase in the village’s population, which grew from 2,574 in 2016 to 3,407 in 2021.

Among the community’s population, 25.5 per cent falls within the 30-to-39 age category, with a 430/440 male to female split. The second most populous age range is 40 to 49, with 20.3 per cent of the total population and a 360/330 male-female split.

Overall, the town’s male-female population is roughly split 52 to 48 per cent.

Since 2016, Pemberton has seen an approximately 67-per-cent increase in residents aged 30 to 34, and a 41.3-per-cent increase in residents aged 35 to 39—the two largest age group increases over the five-year span. Meanwhile, there was an approximately 19-per-cent decrease in residents aged 25 to 29 over that same span, but a 37.5-per-cent increase in people aged 20 to 24.

“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why. I think there’s a few factors at play there,” said Mayor Mike Richman. “We have, for quite a while, been one of the younger [communities] in the province. So you know, we’ve always been an attraction for young families. It’s a great place to raise a family and I think that a lot of people see that and want to move here for that reason.”

Along with the population increase, Pemberton also saw the number of private dwellings increase by 40.8 per cent from 964 in 2016 to 1,357 in 2021.

Among those 1,357 private dwellings, approximately 30 per cent (405) are duplex apartments, while row houses make up 28 per cent (385) of the total.

Apartments in buildings less than five storeys tall and single detached houses are the third and fourth most popular dwellings, accounting for 18.4 and 16.6 per cent of the total, respectively.

“We’ve been working hard to encourage and support different forms of housing. We need diversity of housing in our community,” said Richman. “So that’s something we’ve done, and we’ll continue to do moving forward to make sure that the different needs within the housing spectrum are being met.”

While housing is always a major issue for Pemberton, Richman said the rate at which housing is growing compared to the population is encouraging and hopes to see that trend continue into the future.

“That’s going to be a constant tug of war in this environment, where there is such a demand to come up the corridor, come to a place like Pemberton, and we can’t just keep building, to fill the demand,” he said. “On one hand, we’ve got to keep step with it and make sure that the housing development meets the needs. But there’s other tools and other ways we need to look at this to make sure that housing prices don’t continue to go through the roof.”

While Pemberton falls right in line with the rest of the Sea to Sky as well as B.C. and Canada with an average household size of 2.5, the village is far ahead of the norm when it comes to three- and four-person households, which make up 21 and 17 per cent, respectively, while the provincial average is 14.5 and 12.6 percent.

At the same time, the village falls well below the average when it comes to five-person households, with a rate of 5.1 per cent versus 8.2 per cent in B.C., and one-person households where the village sits at 22.5 per cent of the total versus the 29.4-per-cent provincial average.

Statistics Canada will release more census data on July 13.