Surrey City Hall. (Now-Leader file photo)

What the 2016 Census tells us about Surrey

The City of Surrey, by the numbers

The City of Surrey has compiled an overview of 2016 Census data related to the city. The data was released on various dates from Feb. 8 to Nov. 29 last year.

Here are the highlights, with graphics and tables compiled by city staff:

Population growth

Among Metro Vancouver cities, Surrey had by far the largest increase in total population.

Surrey’s population grew by an average of 9,927 residents from 2011 to 2016, with a total growth during that period of 49,636, Census data reveals.

During the same time period, Vancouver’s population grew by 27,984.

As of 2016, Surrey’s population was 517,887.

The 2016 Census shows that Surrey is the ninth largest city in Canada and the second largest in Metro Vancouver, second only to Vancouver, with a population of 631,486 as of 2016.

In terms of percentage growth, Surrey ranked seventh in Canada, having grown by 10.6 per cent between 2011 and 2016. Edmonton was first, with a total growth of 14.8 per cent, followed by Brampton, at 13.3 per cent.

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Age

While Surrey’s population is aging similar to Metro Vancouver, the city contains a larger portion of young people and has a larger proportion of larger families compared to Metro Vancouver.

When comparing the age of Surrey’s population in 2016 to the rest of the region, the city has a larger portion of young people, ages five to 19.

The regional average for this age bracket is 16 per cent, while Surrey’s is 19.

Since 2001, Surrey’s median age of residents has consistently been less than the region.

Specific Surrey neighbourhoods have lower age averages than others.

Census data from 2016 shows that South Surrey had a median age of 48.6 years, while the rest saw lower averages, such as 39.4 for North Surrey(Guildford, Fleetwood, Cloverdale and Whalley).

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Family structure and households

In 2016, there were 144,500 Census families in Surrey.

Surrey has a large proportion of larger families (five or more people), compared to the rest of Metro Vancouver cities.

One-family households made up 68 per cent of all in Surrey, and multiple-family households made up eight per cent.

“Non-family households” accounted for 24 per cent of all households, which include one or two-person households.

(Census families are defined as married or common-law couples with or without children, or a lone parent living with at least one child.)

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Mother tongue

Census defines mother tongue as the first language learned and home and still understood by an individual.

In 2016, English was the most commonly identified mother tongue in Surrey, followed by Punjabi (20.7 per cent) and Chinese (6.4 per cent).

In Surrey, 46.9 per cent of Surrey’s population listed a language other than English as a mother tongue, up from 44.3 per cent in 2011 and 42.1 per cent in 2006.

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Place of birth

The Census also provides information on the place of birth of immigrants.

In Surrey, the largest majority of immigrants (those who became a landed immigrant between 2011 and 2016) are from India (41.3 per cent), followed by the Philippines (14.5 per cent) and China (12.8 per cent).

Meantime, Surrey has the second largest Aboriginal population in B.C., second only to Vancouver. From 2006 to 2016, the city’s Aboriginal population dropped slightly from 2.8 per cent to 2.6 per cent.

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Housing stock

Over the past 15 years, Surrey has seen a change in its housing stock.

Since 2001, the number of one family and two family dwellings declined as percentage of total dwelling units in 2016, from 77.6 per cent in 2001 to 58.4 per cent in 2016.

Row housing and apartment units are trending upwards in city’s housing stock, from 31.5 per cent in 2001 to 41.6 per cent in 2016.

Since 2006, home ownership has dropped slightly while rental dwellings have increased.

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Housing costs

A total of 28.2 per cent of Surrey residents spend more than 30 per cent of their household income on shelter, the Census data reveals.

This remained consistent from 2006 to 2011, and decreased slightly in 2016.

Meantime, average shelter costs have increased in the city between 2011 and 2016.

For owned dwellings, average costs have risen from $1,422 to $1,608 per month, with the average home value rising from $544,819 in 2011 to $757,863 in 2016.

For rental housing, the average increased from $895 in 2011 to $1,049 in 2016.

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Education

In 2016, a total of 25.6 per cent of the population 15 years and older had attained a university certificate, diploma or degree.

Another 23.4 per cent had a trade certificate or equivalent.

High school graduation was the highest level of education for 32.4 per cent of the population 15 and up.

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Labour force

There were significant changes to Surrey’s labour force in 2016, compared to 2011.

Between 2011 and 2016, the city’s workforce grew by 30,720.

Surrey’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.9 per cent in 2011 to 6.5 per cent in 2016 (slightly higher than the Metro Vancouver average of 5.8 per cent). During that time, the workforce has grown and a greater portion of the labour force works within Surrey.

There were also changes in patterns of commuting to work.

Although personal vehicle still remains the highest mode of transportation to work, there has been a steady increase in the use of public transit as a mode of commuting to work.

In 2016, 44 per cent of Surrey’s labour force worked within the city, compared to 39 per cent in 2011.

In 2016, the remaining 54 per cent who worked outside of Surrey worked within Metro Vancouver. The largest proportion of Surrey’s work force travelled to Vancouver (13 per cent).

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Commute time

More than half (54 per cent) of Surrey’s workforce has a commute of 15 to 44 minutes.

Another 29 per cent have a commute time of 44 minutes or more, and 17 per cent have a commute of less than 15 minutes.

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Income

The Census reveals Surrey’s family income in 2016 was slightly lower than Metro Vancouver’s, at $89,793 and $92,273, respectively.

Couple‐with‐children families recorded the highest average income and also the largest average household size.

Average income of lone‐parent families is considerably less with a much smaller average household size.

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