Kamloops' population has increased by 8.4 per cent over the past five years according to the first release from the 2021 census from Statistics Canada.
Overall, Kamloops is the 12th-most populated city in B.C. and the 61st in Canada, with a reported population of 97,902 within city limits, which extend north to include Heffley Creek, east to include Campbell Creek, south to include Knutsford and west to include Tranquille. That means there are 7,622 more people in the city than there were in 2016.
The Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc reserve, which is not included in Kamloops city limits, grew by 29.6 per cent, increasing from 3,021 people to 3,915.
Kamloops was not a contender to be among Canada's fastest-growing municipalities. The fastest growing city during the census period in B.C. was Langford on Vancouver Island, increasing by 31.8 per cent, while the city that saw the most growth overall was East Gwillimbury, Ont., which saw 44.4 per cent growth.
Nearby Kelowna bested Kamloops in growth, marking a 13.5 per cent increase in population to 144,576. Comparatively sized Nanaimo grew 10.3 per cent, from 90,504 to 99,863.
However, the greater Kamloops area is among the five fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country, with four of the top five were located in British Columbia from 2016 to 2021: Kelowna (+14 per cent to 222,162), Chilliwack (+12.1 per cent to 113,767), Nanaimo (+10.0 er cent to 115,459) and Kamloops (+10 per cent to 114,142).
Kamloops is now designated as a census metropolitan area. They are areas with more than 100,000 people, anchored by a core city with a population of at least 50,000. In 2021, Canada has 41 census metropolitan areas with more than 100,000 people, up from 35 in the 2016 census and further evidence of the increasing urbanization of Canada, according to Statistics Canada.
The Kamloops census metropolitan area includes Savona, Chase, Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc and various rural areas and has a population of 114,000.
B.C.'s most populous city remains Vancouver, which grew by 4.9 per cent to 662,248. The largest growth among Lower Mainland communities was in Langley, which grew by 13.1 per cent.
As a whole, B.C. increased in population by 7.6 per cent to 5,000,879 people. Compared to the rest of Canada, B.C. saw the second-highest increase in population, behind Yukon territory, which grew by 12.1 per cent. Canada, overall, grew by 5.2 per cent.
The census data also addresses private dwellings.
From 2016 to 2021, Kamloops added 2,538 private dwellings — a 6.5 per cent increase to 41,619 in total. Kelowna, meanwhile, added nearly 10,000 new private dwellings and saw an increase of 13.5 per cent to 67,115, while Nanaimo saw a 10.4 per cent increase to 45,138.
Province-wide, B.C. added 148,277 private dwellings from 2016 to 2021 — an increase of 5.7 per cent.
Elsewhere in the regional district
Including smaller population centres within the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, Sun Peaks leads in growth, increasing its population from 616 to 1,404 — a growth of 127 per cent.
Logan Lake saw 13.1 per cent growth, increasing from 1,993 people to 2,255, while Ashcroft increased by 7.2 per cent to 1,670. Chase grew 4.9 per cent to 2,399, Barriere increased by three per cent to 1,765 and Cache Creek saw little growth to 969 people.
Merritt was the largest population centre in the region to shrink, losing 1.2 per cent of its population to 7,051.
Among the TNRD's 10 electoral districts, Area O (Lower North Thompson) saw the most growth, with 15.1 per cent to 1,523 people, while the most populated district, Area P (Rivers and the Peaks), grew by 11.6 per cent to 4,098. Area I (Blue Sky Country) saw the largest drop-off in population, shrinking by 17.7 per cent to 1,038 people.
The district as a whole grew by 8.3 per cent to 143,680.