13 March 2007

Marshall responds to census figures

Treasury board president Tom Marshall issued a news release this afternoon on the census figures saying "the census counts released today by Statistics Canada are not final population estimates, but merely a step in a larger process used to determine final official population estimates."

Bond Papers readers already knew that the census figure of 505,000 people for the province ere one set of figures. Statistics Canada contends the actual current population of the province is 509,700.

For all the mention of the current administration's strategy for this, that and the other - none of which has had a significant impact on anything - Marshall's comments don't take into account the long term population projections of his own statistics division.

What's more, the Premier's own projections don't show any of his initiatives, including the still-not-released energy plan, having any significant impact on the province for the better part of the next decade.

In fact, the current Statistics Canada figures correspond most closely to the provincial government's low scenario:

Fertility - the total fertility rate continues to decline in line with recent trends, from a rate of 1.32 in 2006 to 1.14 in 2021.

Mortality - life expectancies continue to increase but at rates slightly below historical trends. Male life expectancy increases by 1.9 years between 2006 and 2021. Female life expectancy increases by 1.8 years over the same period.

Migration - with fewer jobs available in the Province under this scenario, net out-migration from the Province averages roughly 3,000 per year for the next two years and thereafter remains in the -2,000 to -1,000 per year range over most of the projection period as strong labour markets in Central and Western Canada continue to attract young workers from other areas of the country.

The low scenario would have the population a decade from now numbering about 475,000 people. What Marshall's comment's also don't consider is that with the other demographic changes taking place, the work force in a decade's time will be smaller than it is today while the retirees and children, will be considerably larger. That means that the current administration's economic plans will not only have to address the natural changes in the population - already projected accurately by the provincial government's own statistics division - they will have to overcome the setbacks that result from a decade of lost revenue on projects like Hebron and Hibernia South.