Census data highlights record growth in Nanaimo


The City of Nanaimo continues to grow at record pace according to the latest Census Canada statistics released on February 8, 2022. The population within city limits grew to a population of just under 100,000 people in 2021, making Nanaimo one of the fastest growing urban centres in Canada.

The interest in Nanaimo over the last five years has been felt throughout the development community with record high building activity in 2019 resulting in $445m in investment. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 saw the second highest year with projects totalling $272m in building permit value. The growth is centred around single-family and multi-family housing and strong public investment in fire halls, the hospital, school additions and recreation facilities.

The City's REIMAGINE Nanaimo engagement process continues during this period of rapid growth to develop a new coordinated City Plan that will lay out a new way of accommodating growth based on the founding principles set out in the Doughnut Economics model. For more information on the REIMAGINE Nanaimo engagement project, please visit www.getinvolvednanaimo.ca.

Link to Strategic Plan: Livability - the City will proactively plan for Nanaimo's growth and focus on community infrastructure to support an inclusive, healthy, safe and desirable place to live.

Key Points

  • The City of Nanaimo population increased by 9,359 people between 2016 and 2021. This equates to a 10.3% population increase.
  • The City estimates the 2022 population to be around 103,500 people.
  • City population forecasts anticipate the population of Nanaimo to reach 140,000 by 2046.


"The Census Data certainly supports our observation that Nanaimo has become a very desirable place to live. Our Council recognizes the challenges that growth can bring and we are working through our REIMAGINE Nanaimo engagement process to define a new path forward for how we accommodate this growth while continuing to provide excellent services to our community as a whole."

City of Nanaimo

Quick Facts

  • 2021 Census Data - City of Nanaimo 99,863 people
  • 2016 Census Data - City of Nanaimo 90,504 people
  • 2011 Census Data - City of Nanaimo 82,810 people


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City of Nanaimo

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