Prince Rupert is located on British Columbia's north coast and the 2006 census reports a municipal population of just over 13,000 - a decline of about 30% in the past decade. Over the same time period, the BC population as a whole grew by 11%.
Prince Rupert has many characteristics in common with other northern, resource-based communities:
» A large percentage of the population is engaged in forestry and fishing
» There is a large aboriginal population. In fact, about 30% of the population of Prince Rupert is aboriginal, compared to a BC average of about 2%. The community is home to Tsimshian, Nisga'a, and Haida.
» The population is generally under-educated. The university completion rate, for example, is about half of the provincial average. Incredibly, nearly one-third of the 20-34 age group doesn't have a high school diploma. Northwest Community College and the University of Northern British Columbia opened a new campus in Prince Rupert in 2004.
Tourism is being touted as a growth industry of particular significance. A cruise ship port opened in 2004 and it annually welcomes about 100,000 visitors. Original projections by the Prince Rupert Port Authority suggested that the cruise ship industry would support 1,000 local jobs and $30 million of direct economic spin-offs within a decade.
Near to Prince Rupert are world-class destinations such as Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) and the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear sanctuary.
The container port development is the latest in a series of infrastructure investments that have been made around the Prince Rupert harbour. There is also the cruise ship terminal and facilities for loading grain, coal, and liquefied natural gas. The Prince Rupert harbour is the deepest in North America and is renowned for its safety and close proximity to Asia.