Langley’s population has grown sharply over the last year, as Vancouver’s population dipped. Langley’s growing size can be seen at well-attended events Langley the Langley Good Times Cruise-In last September. (Langley Advance Times files)

Langley’s population has grown sharply over the last year, as Vancouver’s population dipped. Langley’s growing size can be seen at well-attended events Langley the Langley Good Times Cruise-In last September. (Langley Advance Times files)

Langley grows, Vancouver shrinks

Both City and Township saw a significant jump in population in 2021

The population of Langley has swelled by more than 16,000 people in the last five years, according to the latest population estimates from Statistics Canada.

The population of Langley Township was 137,399 people as of 2021, while Langley City reached a population of 28,957, bringing the total population of the Langleys to 166,356 people.

Langley Township added 14,635 people over the five years from 2016 to 2021, while Langley City added 1,874.

Compare that to 2016, when the population was under 150,000.

Langley as a whole grew slightly faster than its neighbour to the east. In 2016, Abbotsford’s population was 151,540, and in 2021 it was 165,070.

The speed of population growth appears to have jumped between 2020 and 2021 for both City and Township.

Langley Township added 3,862 new residents in the year from 2020 to 2021. The year before that, it added just 2,085.

“It’s certainly a boom time,” said Township Mayor Jack Froese.

He noted it is within Langley’s expectations of growing around three per cent a year, set many years ago. By contrast, Canada’s population grows by a little under one per cent per year in most years.

The challenge of rapid growth is that it takes amenities like pools and rec centres a while to catch up, Froese said. But he added that having growth allows for the creation of new amenities, like the planned performance centre at the LEC.

Some years back, he was speaking to a mayor from a town in the Maritimes, whose chief challenge was a declining population, Froese said.

“I think two to three per cent [growth] is manageable,” he said.

Langley City added 840 people from 2020 to 2021, while it increased by just 323 the year before that.

The rapid increase in population highlights the need for a diversity of types of new housing, said City Mayor Val van den Broek.

She said the City’s new Official Community Plan (OCP) is an attempt to think ahead, and to meet challenges of a growing community.

Listening to the public as the community keeps growing is key, she said.

The sharp increases coincide with the red-hot real estate market that began in mid-2020 and lasted through all of 2021, as people furiously bought up property in the outer suburbs of Vancouver, including Langley, Surrey, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack.

A combination of low interest rates and a desire for more room among people working from home has been blamed for a steady flow of people to the Fraser Valley.

READ ALSO: Langley home values jump by more than $300,000 in one year

Another sign of this move from the urbanized core areas to the less-urbanized suburbs is that Vancouver actually lost some population over the last year.

The City of Vancouver hit 700,015 people in 2020, but by 2021 it had fallen back to 693,235.

Municipalities closer to Vancouver had slower growth, with Burnaby rising from 258,145 to 250,918, and Richmond from 215,393 to 216,280.

Surrey, meanwhile, rose from 601,640 people in 2020 to 614,646 last year.

Statistics Canada releases new population estimates annually. A full release of the 2021 census population data is expected in February.


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