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The growth and distribution of population in British Columbia, 1951-61 Welch, Ruth Lilian

Abstract

The growth of population was an outstanding feature of the economic and social development of British Columbia, between 1951 and 1961. The effects of this remarkable growth on the distribution of population, among the census subdivisions of the province, is the particular aspect selected for study. Changes in population distribution result from areal inequalities of the rate of population growth and decline. These differences can be analysed in terms of the varying contributions of the natural and migrational components of population change in each part of the province. The "explanation" of redistribution is thus to be found in the factors which influence the action of the components of population change. This apparently straightforward approach to the topic is beset by a number of problems. Some arise from the concepts, methodology and techniques of population studies in general, as they are applied to the data available for the census subdivisions of British Columbia. Changes in the boundaries of the areal units and in the definitions of statistical categories also create difficulties. The demographic basis for the growth of population in the province as a whole is examined in Chapter Three. Several trends produced a greater relative importance of natural increase as a source of population growth, but net migration was still, in the nineteen -fifties, the major component of change. Estimates of the natural and migrational components of population change in each census subdivision, and in certain cities and municipalities are provided. Migration was the primary cause of regional variations in the rate of population change, although natural increase was far from uniform. Several generic types of population change are identified, to demonstrate the demographic processes and causal factors at work. In Chapter Four the growth in each part of the province is set into perspective, by considering the distribution of the total provincial growth of population. In this way, the extent to which each component of change was responsible for the shifts in the distribution of population can be assessed. Migration was more important than natural increase as a mechanism of adjustment between the initial distribution of population and the changes in the factors which shape the distribution pattern. [ ... ]

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