Has the population bleeding stopped?

Statistics Canada has just released its population estimates. New Brunswick dropped 2,094 from its population from 2005-2006 but added back 557 from 2006 to 2007.

Everything is relative. Canada grew by an estimated 326,544 people from 2006 to 2007. If we had just had ‘our share’ of Canada’s population growth, we would have added 7,421 people – just to have the Canadian average level of population growth.

But at least it is a ‘growth’ figure.

However, I would point out the difference between the population ‘estimates’ and the ‘Census’. The Census shows that New Brunswick’s population is now hovering around 725,000 people (a drop since 1996). I don’t know when Statistics Canada is going to get around to rectifying the difference between the estimate and the actual. One assumes the Census figure is considered ‘actual’ while the ‘estimate’ is considered, well, the estimate.

With all the bravado around about ‘worst to first’ and ‘leading Canada’ and ‘a model for the rest of Canada’, one wonders if any politician would ever promise just the national average for population growth……

…My guess is absolutely not since it has never happened since Confederation.

Other interesting highlights:

Outmigration from New Brunswick is at recent highs. Almost 16,000 people moved out last year. But at the same time almost 15,000 moved in. That makes 15 straight years of net out-migration but it also means that the province is attracting more people. We just need to limit the out-migration.

Immigrants are up – 1,600 in the last year compared to an average of 800/year during Lord’s tenure. However, you have to remember that upwards of 50% of immigrants to New Brunswick leave, so the retention of 800 immigrants across all of New Brunswick still could be classified as, well, pathetic.

Births are down. 6,728 in the last year compared to 7,100 in 2003. That’s a bit disturbing considering that across Canada births are up 7% since 2003. Every province in Canada except all four Atlantic provinces has witnessed an increase in births since 2003. I, however, don’t think a baby bonus is what’s needed. We need jobs that a) keep young people and young families here and b) better paying jobs that all one spouse to have the option to take the time off needed to start a new family.

Oops. I just veered into social policy. I probably should stick to my knitting, eh?