05 July 2008

The challenge of demographic change (1)

The population of Newfoundland and Labrador is changing.

The most recent analysis by Statistics Canada for the period 2003-2007 reveals some interesting trends.


The chart at right shows the population change in the St. John's census metropolitan area by contributing factors.

Natural increase - that is the net of deaths and births  - is the smallest factor.  That's the little yellow blocks.  While births outnumbered deaths in the years shown, the net increase has dropped from 249 in 2004 to 114 in 2007.

Net international migration - the people coming and going internationally  - is also a small contributor.  It's down from a peak in 2004 of 522, hitting the lowest point  (271) in 2006.

Interprovincial migration - the movement between provinces - showed the only net decline of the four factors.  Each year shows a net loss (more out than in) for this factor, with the peak in 2005 of 1088.
Think about this one.  Despite the booming economy, there are more people leaving St. John's to work in other provinces in each of the past five years than are coming here.  This tends to poke a big poke in the homing pigeon theory of how the labour shortfalls in the local economy will sort themselves out.

The biggest source of population change in St. John's in each year, though, has been net intraprovincial migration, that is movement from outside the overpass into the capital. It's coloured red on this chart just to really draw your eye to it.

Almost 1500 more people moved into St. John's from the rest of the province in 2004, 2006 and 2007 than moved from St. John's to points beyond Paradise.