United Way of the Lower Mainland

United Way of the Lower Mainland

September 11, 2015 14:50 ET

Who Lives in the Lower Mainland's Fastest Growing City? Comprehensive Profile Explores Population, Economic, and Social Data

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Sept. 11, 2015) - Surrey is the Lower Mainland's fastest growing city and one of the fastest growing cities in the province of British Columbia: one in ten children born in B.C. is born in Surrey.

Published today, Surrey and White Rock is the first in a series of Community Profiles from United Way of the Lower Mainland that explores this vibrant, multicultural city and its evolution over the past two decades.

United Way invests $2.89 million into programs and services in Surrey funding 49 agencies and 65 programs. Programs and services supported by United Way include early childhood development, after-school programs, refugee support, senior support, and food security.

"The population of Surrey has nearly doubled from 1991 to 2011. How do we ensure that we are best serving this growing population? This comprehensive community profile is a valuable resource to help United Way and others plan for future needs," said Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland.

The profile includes information on:

  • Population (demographics, growth trends, languages spoken) – demographic data is broken down into Surrey's six communities – Cloverdale, Fleetwood, Guildford, Newton, South Surrey, and Whalley
  • Economic factors (income, unemployment rates, education, housing)
  • Social factors (homelessness, family structure, childhood vulnerability, causes of death)
  • Data on calls handled by bc211, the 24/7 multilingual social service help line that United Way funds

Data is compared to Burnaby, Richmond, Vancouver and Metro Vancouver in the report.

To read the full profile, go to http://www.uwlm.ca/resources/surrey-and-white-rock-profile/.

Highlights from the profile follow.

Surrey Community Profile Highlights


  • Surrey's population as of 2011: 468,000 (20% of the region's total population). Vancouver's population as of 2011: 603,500 (26% of the region's total population).
  • From 1991 to 2011, the population in Surrey nearly doubled (90% growth rate) compared to the average growth of 44% in other municipalities in Metro Vancouver.
  • Cloverdale experienced the greatest population growth of Surrey's communities: 87.3% from 2001 to 2011.
  • Birth rate is 13.5 births per 1,000 people compared to average of 9.9 births per 1,000 people in B.C. One in ten births in the province take place in Surrey.
  • 40.5% of Surrey's residents are immigrants.
  • Between 2010 and 2014, 929 Government Assisted Refugees arrived in Surrey representing 27% of the total number of government assisted refugees settling in B.C.
  • In the 2014/15 school year, more than half of Surrey School District students spoke a language other than English at home. Top languages other than English: Punjabi; Mandarin; Tagalog; Hindi.

Economic indicators

  • The median family income in Surrey in 2010 was $78,283 compared to $80,006 in Metro Vancouver.
  • 18.7% of families with children under the age of 18 live in poverty compared to the Metro Vancouver rate of 19.5%
  • Top five Surrey occupations: sales and service 24.9%; trades, transport and equipment operators, 18.4%; business, finance and administration, 16%; management, 10.5%; education, law and social, community and government services, 9.4%
  • 37.7% of Surrey renters spend more than 30% of income on rent compared to 44.7% in Vancouver.

Social indicators

  • Surrey has the largest proportion of multiple family households in Metro Vancouver
  • From 2007-2011, Surrey had the second-highest rate of alcohol-related death and drug-induced deaths after Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Calls for assistance to the bc211 help line

  • In 2014, there were 15,173 calls to bc211 from Surrey, an increase of 19% from the previous year
  • Top reasons for calls: housing and homelessness, substance use, abuse, health, and basic needs.

Voter turnout Surrey Municipal Elections

  • 2008 – 24.5%; 2011 – 25.2%; 2014 – 31.5%

Data sources: 2011 Census; bc211; City of Surrey Planning Department; Civic Info B.C.

About United Way of the Lower Mainland

United Way of the Lower Mainland is dedicated to creating healthy, caring and inclusive communities by helping families move from poverty to possibility, kids be all that they can be and building stronger communities for all. Surrey and White Rock are two of 26 communities that UWLM serves.

Contact Information

  • United Way of the Lower Mainland
    Jennifer Young
    604-268-1333, cell 604-309-3937