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Battleground BC

Seniors with Clout: Ridings Where Elderly Voters Hold Sway

You’ll find them in the sunny parts of the province.

By Will McMartin, 3 Apr 2005, TheTyee.ca

Across British Columbia, according to the 2001 Canada census, 13.6% of residents are 65 years or older. But in five ridings, more than one-in-five residents are seniors, and in another eight ridings, more than one-in-six.

Seniors represent an ever greater proportion of the voting-age population, which includes those 18 years old and above. For example, 36,615 people were registered to vote in Penticton-Okanagan Valley in 2001. That same year, the riding’s seniors’ population was 14,170, or nearly 39% of registered voters.

On top of that, studies show that seniors are more likely to participate in elections than younger people, so it is likely that in almost two-dozen B.C. ridings, seniors represent between a quarter and half of all probable voters.

Health care, crime and other issues of special importance to B.C. seniors, may play a significant role in determining the outcome in ridings with a large seniors’ populations.

TABLE -- British Columbia’s 20 largest ridings in terms of proportion of seniors.

  • 1. Penticton-Okanagan Valley — 14,170 seniors (25.1% of the total population)
  • 2. Surrey-White Rock — 12,250 (23.2%)
  • 3. Saanich North and the Islands — 11,475 (21.8%)
  • 4. Oak Bay-Gordon Head — 10,055 (21.0%)
  • 5. Nanaimo-Parksville — 11,230 (20.0%)
  • 6. Kelowna-Mission — 10,690 (19.4%)
  • 7. Victoria-Beacon Hill — 9,425 (19.1%)
  • 8. West Vancouver-Capilano — 9,335 (19.1%)
  • 9. Okanagan-Westside — 9,115 (19.1%)
  • 10. Shuswap — 8,780 (17.8%)
  • 11. Alberni-Qualicum — 9,040 (17.8%)
  • 12. Powell River-Sunshine Coast — 7,730 (17.0%)
  • 13. Okanagan-Vernon — 9,660 (17.0%)
  • 14. Cowichan-Ladysmith — 8,260 (16.2%)
  • 15. West Kootenay-Boundary — 7,175 (16.0%)
  • 16. Comox Valley — 8,530 (15.4%)
  • 17. Saanich South — 7,655 (15.4%)
  • 18. Abbotsford-Clayburn — 6,870 (15.3%)
  • 19. Yale-Lillooet — 5,695 (15.3%)
  • 20. Kelowna-Lake Country — 8,615 (15.3%)

Check in daily for Battleground BC, Will McMartin’s voting predictions and analysis, exclusive to The Tyee. You can reach him with tips, insights and info at will@thetyee.ca  [Tyee]