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Demographics are often invaluable sources of research for the market analysis of new businesses and new product lines. The central components of the North Okanagan population are outlined below. Full and extensive detail of these demographic statistics can be found at BC Stats. Statistics Canada link to community profile search, and BC Stats North Okanagan community fact sheets. Presented below are basic characteristics of population growth, age distribution, gender, migration, family structures and income levels.

While population growth in the Okanagan Region has slowed after several years of strong gains, the overall population growth is expected to continue throughout most of the projection period (ranging from 0.1% - 2.4% annually throughout the 25-year period). Growth in population is predicted to be primarily due to large net inflows of migrants.

North Okanagan Population Projections
Year Population Year Population
2006 78,877 2016 90,191
2007 80,145 2021 95,199
2008 81,932 2026 99,975
2009 82,970 2031 104,233
2010 84,009 2036 107,800

Source: BC Stats Regional District Demographic Profile, 2006 Census

The North Okanagan business community is characterized by a large percentage of small- and medium-sized enterprises. Ninety-one percent of all businesses in the region have less than twenty employees and those considered large businesses (200+ employees) constitute less than 0.5%. The economy is very diverse and no longer relies on one or two industries.

The increase in the service industries in this region can be attributed to the ease of transportability, the availability of technology, and the desire by professionals to enjoy the North Okanagan lifestyle while at the same time growing their businesses.

Number of Business Incorporations
Year N. Okanagan B.C.
2004 260 24,703
2005 421 30,937
2006 479 33,273
2007 504 34,036
2008 421 30,085

Source : BC Stats 2006 Census

Age Distribution

The population of the Region appears to be slowly aging, however, the percentage of individuals over 65 years of age is not rapidly increasing. Rather, many older individuals are migrating to the area for work and business opportunities. While there is still a desire to locate for retirement reasons and young individuals continue migrate to larger urban centres for educational opportunities, the overall benefits of an aging population has resulted in a more experienced workforce.

All Ages N. Okanagan % Distribution
Male Female N. Okanagan B.C.
37,425 39,875 100.0 100.0
0 - 14 6,300 6,330 16.3 17.6
15 - 24 4,815 4,480 12.1 13.4
25 - 44 8,115 8,900 22 28
45 - 64 11,310 12,190 30.4 27.4
65 + 6,880 7,980 19.2 13.6

Source : BC Stats 2006 Census


Migration patterns for the North Okanagan indicate that over the past ten years, the majority of migrants came from other places within the province. In the recent years there has been a relatively steady increase of migration to the North Okanagan, much in the way of retirees into the area as the Okanagan Valley is recognized as a popular retirement destination.

Migration to the North Okanagan is a result of many factors but appears especially due to the quality of lifestyle in the region and the availability of post secondary education. The result of this positive migration is a strong labour force of professionals wishing to establish businesses and careers in the area.

  International Net Inter-provincial Net Intra-provincial Net Total Net Migration
2003-04 28 287 802 1117
2004-05 53 434 976 1463
2005-06 121 311 216 648
2006-07 119 512 132 763
2007-08 115 764 115 904
2008-09 143 479 115 797

Source : BC Stats 2006 Census

Family Structure

The North Okanagan is considered an ideal location to raise a family. Exceptional schools, recreational opportunities and low crime rates entice families to move into the region. The chart below shows a breakdown in family structure for the North Okanagan as of the 2006 Census.

Total Census Families 22,985
Husband/Wife Families 19,670
Now-Married Couples 16,630
- Without children at home 56%
- With children at home 44%
Common-Law Couples 3,040
- Without children at home 61%
- With children at home 39%
Single Parent Families 3,315
- Male parent 17%
- Female parent 83%

Source : BC Stats 2006 Census

North Okanagan Sources of Income

The North Okanagan has a diverse economy which caters to different income-generating activities. By far, most individuals are involved in some aspect of employment, however, there has been considerable investment into small and medium enterprise (SME) development as people discover the entrepreneurial support available for the SME community.

Source: Canada Customs and Revenue Agency – 2006 Census

The average income level of individuals in the region is $35,317, compared to the BC average of $38,523. Employment wages have traditionally been lower in this Region (often referred to as the "sunshine tax" of living in the North Okanagan). In addition, the industries of the area have low union representation, thus wages from the private sector tend to average lower than in other more industrialized/unionized regions.

Distribution of Income
  North Okanagan
Income ( $ ) Total
Less than 1,000 2,240
1,000-5,000 3,330
5,000-10,000 5,280
10,000-15,000 7,320
15,000-20,000 7,230
20,000-25,000 5,180
25,000-30,000 4,440
30,000-40,000 7,550
40,000-50,000 5,810
>50,000 12,440
Source: Canada Revenue Agency 2006

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