The population of the Central Okanagan is 187,058 (2014), with the vast majority  located in Kelowna (65%) and West Kelowna (17%). From 1996 to 2011, the Central Okanagan population grew 32%, and Kelowna’s population grew 31%, much higher than the provincial average of 18%. The trend over 15 years has also shown a gradual increase in the annual growth rate. By 2034, the Central Okanagan population is expected to grow to nearly 255,000, an increase of more than 36% in 20 years.

With a median age of 44.2, the population in the area tends to be older than the rest of British Columbia (41.9) and Canada (40.6). Seniors (aged 65 and older) make up a major segment of the total population at 19.2%, compared to the British Columbia average of 15.7% and the Canadian average of 14.8%. By 2034, about 24% of the population is projected to be in the senior category. As this grows, the need for transportation systems to support the needs of an aging population may become more important in the area.

When looking at the modes of transportation for the employed labour force, the region has a much higher rate of vehicular travel (81.6%) as compared to the province (71.3%) and a lower rate of public transit use (3.4% versus 12.6% respectively). BC Transit’s Transit Future Plan for the Central Okanagan seeks to double the share of transit ridership to 7% by 2035.

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Map 4 – Employment locations/Population Density

Graph 7 – Central Okanagan Age Distribution

Graph 8 – Central Okanagan Geographic Population Distribution.