PEOPLE on the North Shore live a little longer, have babies later and have both a lower birth and death rate than the provincial average.
That's according to information released by B.C.'s vital statistics agency in its annual report, that provided tidbits about how many of us were born, how old we were when we married or had children and how and where we shuffled off this mortal coil in 2011.
On a typical day in British Columbia last year, 121 people were born - slightly more than half of them boys, and almost a quarter to mothers 35 and older - 60 marriages were performed (most of them civil ceremonies) and 87 people died.
Statistics for the North Shore reflected many of those across the province. In general, we're doing everything later in life than we did a generation
ago - including marrying, having children and dying. Marriage rates in B.C. have been falling since the 1970s. On the North Shore, 381 couples in North Vancouver and 266 couples in West Vancouver decided to buck that trend and tie the knot in 2011. Both men and women are taking their time to think before they leap into a life of wedded bliss though. The average age for first marriages across the province has continued to steadily rise - to 29 for women and 31 for men.
The next statistically measurable milestone - having children - is also coming later in life than it used to, according to the statistics report.
While the majority of babies province-wide are still born to women aged 20 to 34, the percentage of older women giving birth has risen dramatically - to about 23 per cent of the total.
On the North Shore, that statistic is even more marked - with older mothers accounting for between 40 and 45 per cent of all women having babies. In general, older mothers tend to have babies with lower birth weights and are more likely to give birth by Caesarean section.
The C-section rate for women having babies on the North Shore hovered between 32 and 34 per cent - slightly higher than the provincial average.
A total of 1,451 babies were born to women from North and West Vancouver last year. Local birth rates in both communities were below the provincial average, which itself has steadily declined since the 1950s. At the same time, the percentage of multiple births has doubled in the past 30 years.
Across the province, births were spread fairly evenly throughout the year, with more in the months of July and September.
Kindergarten teachers working in schools five years from now are likely to have a few Liams, Ethans, Emmas and Olivias in their classrooms - those were ranked the top names for babies in 2011. Other popular names included Mason, Lucas and Benjamin for boys and Sophia, Ava and Chloe for girls.
SETTING IT STRAIGHT
A bear-resistant garbage container from the District of North Vancouver costs $199, and not $100 as reported in our Dec. 26 story, Lynn Valley Bears Still Cruising.
Details on how to purchase these garbage cans can be found on the district's website (dnv.org) or by calling 604-990-2311.
At the other end of the life cycle tracked by government statistics, North Shore residents live a year or two longer than the provincial average. Life expectancy for men on the North Shore is 82 compared to 80 province-wide and 85.5 for women, compared to 84 provincially.
There were 1,195 deaths on the North Shore last year. Province-wide, cancer, heart disease and strokes/blood clots remained the leading causes of death, accounting for more than half of all deaths in B.C. Lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer account for the most cancer deaths.
People dying of cancer are generally older than they used to be, according to the statistics report, and more of them are women.
Among young people 15-24, accidents - including car accidents and accidental poisonings - remained the leading cause of death in B.C., with suicide the second leading cause.
The report also pointed to a number of deaths that were considered preventable including two deaths on the North Shore last year from causes considered medically treatable.
A further 37 deaths in North Vancouver and 18 in West Vancouver last year were alcohol-related while nine deaths on the North Shore were drug-induced.