Port Alberni lies in the heart of Vancouver Island, in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District. It is the largest community in the region, with a population of approximately 18,000 people. The population ages are: 19.4% between 0-17, 9.4% between 18-24, 53.7% between 25-64 and 17.5% are 65-plus.
The region as a whole has a population of approximately 25,000 people, with Port Alberni being surrounded by Cherry Creek, Beaver Creek, Sproat Lake, Bamfield and the Beauforts. The population consists largely of European Canadians, yet like much of Canada the Alberni Valley is truly multicultural. Additionally, several Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations also call the Alberni Valley home. These vibrant First Nations populations add significantly to the culture of the Alberni Valley.
The main industry continues to be forestry, but it also has strong fisheries, agriculture and business roots as well. The city is located at the end of the Alberni Inlet, the longest inlet on Vancouver Island. Its sheltered deep-sea port also makes the city a shipping hub on the west coast. It also serves as a harbour for commercial and recreational vessels. Recently, due in part to affordable house in the region, Port Alberni is growing in popularity in tourism, education, the arts and high-tech industries.