In May 1997, BC Stats prepared population projections for each of the Province's Regional Districts. Taking into account declining birth rates, ageing Baby Boomers, increased life expectancy and migration, these projections suggest that the Central Okanagan Regional District will, over the next twenty years, grow at a rate of 2.24% per annum. By 2020, it is estimated that the region's population will be approximately 240,000.
In terms of population, Kelowna is British Columbia's largest city outside the lower mainland. Kelowna has seen dramatically fluctuating growth since 1973. In the early 1990's, for example, Kelowna grew at an annual rate of 6% and was one of the most rapidly growing communities in Canada. More recently, growth has slowed to approximately 1.5% per annum. Kelowna's current population is forecast at 103,500 (source BC Stats).
With respect to the 2001 census, RDCO experienced positive growth but less that 50% of that achieved during the 1991 to 1996 period. Kelowna;s 2001 census population, 96,288, reflected a 7.7% increase over 1996, an annual compounded rate of 1.5%. The Districts of Lake Country and Peachland grew at a much slower pace, 2.9% during the 5 year period, followed by the Indian Reserves at 8.8% and Electoral Areas and in particular Westbank and Lakeview Heights at 12.6% averaging 2.4% per annum, compounded.
2001 census determined dwelling units in the Central Okanagan Regional Distrcit total 62,675, an average density of 2.4 persons per household. The average household population in Kelowna is slightly less at 2.3. New housing demand during the census period, 1996 to 2001, approximated 3,000 units, based on 2.3 persons per household, undicating an average annual requirement of 600 dwelling units.