On population projections

The funny thing about projections and forecasts – once you get out beyond a few months or a year or so, the efficacy of prediction starts to drop by an order of magnitude. 

Remember Faith Popcorn?  We were all going to be cocooning by now – never stepping outside our houses.  She forgot that at our core, humans are social people and while technology may allow for cocooning people still want to physically rub shoulders with others.

Remember Boom, Bust and Echo?  That dire warning?  The Feds opened up the immigration tap – over three million new immigrants moved to Canada and presto, no crisis after all (although in fairness, the aging population is a longer term problem but we were told by David Foot that by now we would be in crisis).

There are a hundred more examples.  The most recent is Statistics Canada’s projections for immigrant populations in Canada’s CMAs by 2031.  I can guarantee that this report is suspect because it is looking backward at history and projecting forward into the future. 

I am not saying they are wrong one way or the other.   If you believe my projection that New Brunswick by 2030-2040 will be part of a scaled back Maritime Canada political unit boiled down to a limited level of economic activity to support the natural resources here, that would change your view of the population make up by 2031.   If you took the self-sufficiency view that by 2026 New Brunswick was going to have 100,000 more people and be economically self-sufficient, that would change your view of the population make up by 2031.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it is highly unlikely/virtually impossible that the next 25 years will look like the past 25 (the population growth forecasts are based on a 25 year projection). 

So, like Popcorn and Foot, this projection is a scenario that people need to think about but I wouldn’t take it to the bank.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to On population projections

  1. Samonymous says:

    If you took the self-sufficiency view that by 2026 New Brunswick was going to have 100,000 more people and be economically self-sufficient, that would change your view of the population make up by 2031.

    The problem with setting arbitrary dates, such as the proposed self-sufficiency date, economist rarely ever factor in worst case scenarios when making such projections. That said, is it safe to say that 2026, under the original plan (which didn’t factor in 5-10 years of economic stagnation), is unattainable.

Comments are closed.