05 July 2008

The challenge of demographic change (2)

This chart confirms what most of us already realize: there is a part of the province where the population is growing; there are others where the population is shrinking.

The figures are from the latest Statistics Canada population analysis.


The chart shows year over year changes.

Update Note: The scale on the left is the rate per thousand of population, not a percentage.

Updated update:  Just to put this in a bit better perspective it's useful to note the observation made by Statistics Canada on page 55 (57 of the pdf).  Of the 10 economic regions experiencing the largest population decreases in 2007, six were in Atlantic Canada.

Nationally, the situation in Newfoundland and Labrador is particularly noteworthy. The top two regions experiencing loss were in Newfoundland.  West Coast - Northern Peninsula - Labrador came in at sixth out of the top 10:

Like last year, Newfoundland and Labrador’s South Coast - Burin Peninsula ER experienced the largest population decrease of all, with a negative growth of –26.9 per thousand. Two other Newfoundland and Labrador ERs were among those with the largest population decreases: Notre Dame - Central Bonavista Bay in 2nd place (-17.6 per thousand) and West Coast - Northern Peninsula – Labrador in 6th place (-11.0 per thousand).

The population decreases between July 1, 2006 and July 1, 2007 in these ERs can be partly attributed to precarious local economic conditions and Alberta’s strong appeal. Between 2001 and 2006, 19,954 people moved from Newfoundland and Labrador to Alberta, representing 34.24 % of all interprovincial migrants from the eastern province.

If you follow the link above, you'll notice that other regions in the top 10 lost more people in absolute numbers.  However, the relative proportion (rate per thousand) was higher in the two Newfoundland regions that scored in first and second place.

The chart on page 71 compares the age and sex profile of the South Coast-Burin Peninsula (light blue) economic region with Red Deer.

The population of the Newfoundland region is significantly older than that of the Alberta region.  SC-BP has experienced one of the highest rates of outmigration  - both interprovincial and intraprovincial - at  negative 101 per thousand between 2001 and 2007), particularly men and women in their 20s.




Mark said...

I first saw this table and thought the numbers were percentages, which would have been quite shocking. Just for clarity, the axis on the left represents number of persons per thousand.

Mark said...

But it does mean that on the South Coast, for example, that the population has shrunk by more than 10% in the past 5 years alone, and that the decrease has become even more pronounced of late.

Edward G. Hollett said...

Thanks, Mark.

In my bleary-eyed haste this morning I failed to mention that or do the adjustment to a percentage. I'll make it clear on the post.

The numbers are quite striking. If you chart the actual number of people year over year, the population change doesn't look quite so dramatic.

Then you look at it this way or in the actual numbers laid side by side and you see the quite dramatic shifts.

Of course, this general trend was understood at least a decade and a half ago and government policy was starting to gear up to deal with some of the implications in 1995. Then the happy horsehit returned and people who discussed demographic shifts were considered to be suffering from nothing greater than envying the pint-sized premier's package.

Discussion of public policy in Newfoundland is always kept on a high level.

Bear in mind as well that these are estimates, not necessarily an actual head count.