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BC Sessional Papers

PAPERS Relating to the population of British Columbia, as represented by Bulletin No. 1 of the Census… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1892

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 55 Vict. Census of British Columbia. 411
Relating to the population of British Columbia, as represented by Bulletin No. 1 of
the Census of Canada, 1891.
By Command.
Provincial Secretary.
Provincial Secretary's Office,
3rd February, 189%.
Copy of a Report of a Committee of the Honourable the Executive Council, approved by His
Honour the Lieutenant-Governor on the 28th day of December, 1891.
On a memorandum from the Honourable the Minister of Agriculture, dated the 23rd day
of December, 1891, drawing attention to Bulletin No. 1, of the Census of Canada, 1891, issued
from the Department of Agriculture in August last, from which it appears that the total
population of the Province of British Columbia, inclusive of Indians, Chinese, and all other
nationalities, amounts to 92,767, which total, when compared with and judged by estimates
prepared from details received from various reliable sources, the accuracy of which has been
tested by numerous calculations, appears to be a gross under-estimate of the actual population
of the Province, and submitting the tables contained in the schedule hereto annexed, which
summarise some of the results obtained by the calculations referred to; and recommending
that representations be made to the Dominion Government setting forth the facts herein shewn,
and urging that joint action be immediately taken by the two Governments for a more accurate
census of this Province, upon terms to be arranged to the mutual satisfaction of the two
The Committee advise approval.
(Signed)        A. Campbell Reddie,
Deputy Clerk, Executive Council. 412 Census of British Columbia. 1892
Table No. 1
Shewing the  data  and  authorities for the  same upon  which  the   calculations for the
following tables are based :—
(a.) The population of British Columbia, inclusive of all classes and
nationalities, as shewn by Census Bulletin No. 1, 1891  92,767
(b.) Indian population of the Province, as shewn in the return of
the Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, dated 30th June,
1891       35,416
But to this must be added the number of the various bands of Indians
situate in the Chilcat and Taku Districts, not included in the above
return, and which the Indian Department here estimate at  2,000
(c.) The Indian population, according to the census of  1881, was.. . 25,661
(d.) The city population, according to the census returns of 1881,
Victoria         5,925
New Westminster         1,500
Nanaimo         1,645
(e.) Rural population in 1881 was  40,389
(f) The city population in 1891 is, according to census,—
Victoria       16,841
Vancouver       13,685
New Westminster . ,         6,641
Nanaimo ,         4,595
(g.) The rural population in 1891 is, also according to census  51,005
City Voters.
(h.) Provincial Voters' Lists on 1st September, 1880, shewed as
follows :—
Victoria         1,134
Nanaimo, 539, of whom there were in the city ...... 362
New Westminster  250
Rural Voters.
Victoria  250
Esquimalt  174
Cowichan  232
Nanaimo (balance)  177
Comox  96
New Westminster  720
Yale  470
Lillooet  181
Cariboo  462
Cassiar  133
Kootenay  34
Total voters in 1880  4,675 55 Vict. Census of British Columbia. 413
(i.) Provincial Voters' Lists  on  the   30th  April,   1890,  shew   as
follows :—
City Voters.
Victoria City  3,668
Nanaimo City  712
Vancouver  3,032
New Westminster  1,367
Rural Voters.
Esquimalt  411
Victoria  416
Cowichan ,  387
Islands  166
Yale  1,494
Cariboo  374
East Kootenay  314
Nanaimo  490
Alberni  67
Comox  218
Lillooet  242
Westminster  1,928
Cassiar  68
Vest Kootenay  206
(k.) It can fairly be assumed that all the Indians belong to the rural population, for the
exceptions to this rule are so trifling as not to affect any results obtained, and this assumption
will be made in the calculations in the following tables.
Table No. 2
Contrasting the rural population, as shewn in the census returns of 1881 and 1891.
(The small letters in brackets refer to the sub-sections of Table No. 1.)
1881. 1891.
Indians, 25,661 (c.) 37,416 (b.) 11,755 (increase).
Other Nationalities, 14,728         13,589    1,139 (decrease).
40,389 (e.) 51,005 (g.) 10,616 (increase).
Thus it will be seen that while the Indian population, through natural increase and a
more correct enumeration, shews an increase of nearly 12,000 (and it is a notorious fact that
many of the tribes are rapidly dying out, and many districts are shewing a decrease in the
number of Indians), the white and Chinese population in the same rural districts, if we are to
believe the census returns, has decreased over 1,100. This being the result of the returns from
the Department of Agriculture, what do the Customs returns shew 1
From them it appears that the total value of the goods entered for home consumption
during the year ending June 30th, 1881, from foreign ports was $1,736,616.00, upon which
duty was paid to the amount of $589,416.62, while for the year ending June 30th, 1891, the
respective figures were $5,336,190.00 of imports, and $1,346,059.42 of duty, to say nothing of
the imports from other Provinces, which during the same period have increased in at least the
same ratio
If it required any argument to prove that the rural population had increased, this would
be a forcible one, for the increase in imports cannot be entirely attributed to the requirements
of the urban population; but, argument aside, it is a fact beyond dispute that new districts, both
mining and agricultural, have been developed, and that settlers have flocked to these districts
in thousands. 414 Census of British Columbia. 1892
Table No. 3
Shewing relation of population to voters, and deductions therefrom :—
Ratio of
Voters. Population. population to voters.
In cities in 1880, 1,746 (h.)    9,070 (d.)  5.19
Rural Districts in 1880, 2,929 (h.)   40,389 (c.)  5.02
Less Indians 25,661 (c.)
If we assume these same ratios and apply them to the figures obtained from the Voters
Lists, as seen in Table No. 1, we will obtain the following results, which are, of course, exclusive
of Indians:—
Estimated Census
1891. Voters, Factor. population. population.
City 8,779 (ij 5.19 45,563 41,762 f/J
Rural 6,781 (i.) 5.02 34,040 14,728
If then we add to this estimated population the number of Indians in the Province, the
following will result as the total population of the Province :—
City       45,563
Rural       34,040
Indians         37,416
If, however, we assume the census figures for the cities to be correct, and calculate the
rural population by use of the ratio of the number of voters in the respective groups, viz.:—
8,779 to 6,781, which method inclines towards placing the rural population under the mark, as
Voters' Lists are much less complete in rural districts, we obtain the following results :—
City population, according to census       41,762
Rural population (in above ratio)       32,257
Indian population      37,416
Making a total population of  111,435
These figures assume that the census is correct in regard to the population of the cities,
but that such is not the case is abundantly shewn by an accurate nominal civic census taken in
Victoria, which places the population of that city at 23,153, while the Dominion census places
it at 16,841. Returns from Vancouver and New Westminster show that the population of
those cities is largely in excess of that allowed to them by the census. That every reliance can
be placed on the Victoria census is beyond doubt, for the same, or even a more perfect, system
of checking names has been adopted in compiling this return as was employed by the Department of Agriculture in preparation of theirs.
If, then, we assume the population of Victoria at 23,153, and estimate the population of
the Province by the ratio which the voters of that city bear to that number the following will
be the results :—
Population of Victoria  23,153
Voters , 3,668(t)
Ratio of population to voters    6.31
No. of voters in Province .,  15,560(-i)
Voting population       98,184
Indians       37,416
Total estimated population         135,600 55 Vict.   ■ Census of British Columbia. 415
It will, therefore, be seen that all calculations agree in placing the population far above
92,767, the figures we have obtained being 117,019, 111,435, and 135,600.
That all these estimates should err, and that the census population is the correct one, is
very improbable, and we might say impossible, for not only do they agree in placing the
population much in excess of the census returns, but they also agree very closely among
themselves, and variations can easily be accounted for by the necessarily rough manner in
which they are obtained.
Had only one test been applied the calculations might have been objected to as unfair,
but the only logical conclusion from the agreement of a number of tests is that their results
embody the substantial truths.
Ottawa, 15th January, 1892.
Sir,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch of the 6th instant,
transmitting copy of an Approved Report (484/91) of a Committee of your Executive Council,
drawing attention to Bulletin No. 1 of the Census of Canada, 1891, from the Department of
Agriculture, and enclosing schedule of estimates, calculations, &c, showing the supposed gross
inaccuracy of said census, with a view, as therein set forth, to joint action by the Governments
of British Columbia and of the Dominion, so as to obtain a more accurate census of British
Columbia, and to state that the matter will receive attention.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed)        L. A. Patellier,
Under Secretary oj State.
His Honour
The Lieutenant-Governor of British, Columbia,
victoria, b. c.:
Printed by Ricaard Wolfenden, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty.


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