On the latest population figures

I’ll have more to say about this in my TJ column tomorrow but I’ll summarize a few points this morning.   First, I think the new population statistics are encouraging so don’t get me wrong here.  The population had been firmly going in the wrong direction for a number of years.

However, the spinners seem to over-spin in the hopes that the moderated version that ends up in the press will still be positive. 

For example, the government press release states ” The largest number of interprovincial migrants since 1990 caused the population of New Brunswick to grow for the 13th consecutive quarter”.   396.  That’s the number ‘largest’ number they are talking about.  No mention of the -127 natural population decline – the largest natural population decline in – I think – forever. 

The Minister is quoted as saying “”Some people say they’re ambitious goals. We feel that it’s important that we set high targets,” Arseneault, also the deputy premier, said in a phone interview Monday.”

It’s strange how in New Brunswick we lower the bar to rock bottom and then any slight move upwards is an ambitious goal.   Having a population growth rate 70% slower than the Canadian average is now an ambitious goal.

It is certainly better than population decline, however.  If you want my thinking on why population has grown – check out my TJ column tomorrow.

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6 Responses to On the latest population figures

  1. The coverage I’ve been seeing in the press appears to be uniformly negative, emphasizing that New Brunswick’s growth is less than other provinces. News outlets are no longer comparing the numbers to Graham’s targets (presumably because growth has now met those targets).

    I agree with you that the numbers are too low. New Brunswick would do well to target immigration from outside Canada, not merely repatriation of people who used to live here. Bringing outsiders into the province may challenge native New Brunswickers, but I really think it’s necessary.

  2. richard says:

    Immigration is a response to opportunity. The only way get significantly more people moving here is to provide opportunities; i.e. by having jobs available. The funds being spent on trying to attract immigrants would be better spent on attracting industry.

  3. Tim Coates says:

    It would be nice to see figures that reflect population change and economic conditions in Canada. The past 13 months have not been high times in Alberta or Southern Ontario, where a lot of New Brunswickers went in the past. As these economies pick up it’ll be interesting to see what happens to NB population numbers. A continued increase would be significant.

  4. Ed Hollett says:

    The NB numbers look like a light version of the NL trend.

    NBers who emigrated to find work came home owing to the downturns in the US, Ontario and Alberta.

    The trend likely started in mid-2007, as it did in NL, as a harbinger of the problems to come. It peaked in 2008 and has been slackening ever since. Once the recovery takes hold, the population will likely decline again.

  5. Peter Lindfield says:

    There are three main reasons that solutions for the coming demographic shift continue to be incomplete.

    First, the problem is still seen to be too far in the future and within the jurisdiction of “someone else” to solve. Second, the groups who will be negatively impacted by this shift have yet to collectively develop, own and implement the necessary solutions. Third, beyond the provincial governments and ACOA, no real champion for solving the problem at both the regional and local levels has emerged.

  6. Cod Father says:

    The boom is back. Labour shortages in Alberta are predicted within the next 12 to 18 months again. Best send those people back once the EI cheque runs out.

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