British Columbia is a land of mountains
and high plateaus – about three-quarters of its land lies above 1,000 metres in elevation and more than 18 per cent is rock, ice or tundra. More than 80 per cent of B.C.'s human population crowds into the coastal plains and deep valleys of the southern sixth of the province – where the land is flat, the soil fertile and the winters short. And not only are the lowlands crowded now, but population growth is fastest there. From 1986 to 1991, the Fraser Valley's population grew by 17 per cent. By 2016, the overall population of British Columbia is projected to reach 4.9 million, up 40 per cent from 1995.