Northern Economist 2.0

Showing posts with label population. Show all posts
Showing posts with label population. Show all posts

Thursday, 7 June 2018

The North and Ontario's Population

Well, today is election day and as we pause and wait for the results later today, why not take another look at northern Ontario's population but this time with numbers from the 2017 BMA Municipal Study.  Two items for your consideration. First, a table showing population in the major northern Ontario municipalities as well as the growth rates of their population for the period 2006 to 2011 and 2011 to 2016.  The table ranks the cities from the highest to lowest growth rates for the period 2011 to 2016 and they show that at the top are Parry Sound and Greater Sudbury.  Their populations have continued to expand and while their proximity to the GTA and its opportunities may be a factor it remains that proximity has not helped North Bay.  Also of interest is Elliot Lake which has taken to marketing itself as a retirement community.  Despite an aging population, people are not retiring to Elliot Lake in droves.



With the north not really growing while Ontario's population rises, its share of Ontario's population is also declining.  However, in this case it turns out that the North has plenty of company when it comes to shrinking population shares.  The figure below - also taken from the 2017 BMA Municipal Study (using data from the Ontario Finance Ministry) plots the population share of each of Ontario's regions since 1991 and projected to 2041.  It turns out that each region is expected to decline as a share of Ontario's population by 2041 with the exception of the GTA.  The GTA is projected to rise from 42% in 1991 to hit 53% by 2041.  As for northern Ontario - it is going from 8 percent of the population in 1991 to 4 percent by 2041.  At present it is about 7 percent.


Two things.  First, Ontario is becoming increasingly lopsided in terms of population and employment with the GTA enjoying a perpetual boom and the rest of the province with perhaps the exception of the Ottawa area undergoing a slow stagnation.   This will be a major challenge for the next government when it comes to dealing with the provincial economy.  Second, as many of you are aware, there was an increase in riding numbers for today's elections - there are now 124 seats in the legislature up for grabs.  Of those, 13 are in northern Ontario which means that 10 percent of the election ridings are in the north but only about 7 percent of the population.  Whatever northerners may think about their relative alienation and neglect by the south, it remains that their votes yield clout out of proportion to their population numbers.  Northern Ontario needs to make use of this influence while it still retains it. It is unlikely that 2041 will see the north with 10 percent of the seats in the legislature but only 4 percent of the population.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Why the North's Cities are Losing Population

Everyone is still pretty much digesting last week's census results and the news that many northern Ontario's cities actually lost population.  Of course, the immediate gut reaction to the population decline of what are supposed to be the regional magnets for growth will focus on a slow economy as well as cries that the provincial government needs to do something.  I think its important to think more carefully about what actually is happening given that northern Ontario as a whole actually saw a slight population increase.  Here is my take on what some of the factors may be.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

2016 Census of Canada: Northern Ontario Results

Well, the population counts of the 2016 Census of Canada were released by Statistics Canada today and there is an odd assortment of results for northern Ontario that are both good and bad. Canada's population in 2016 was 35,151,728 - an increase of 5 percent from 2011 - while Ontario's population was 13,448,494 - an increase of 4.6% from 2011.  Northern Ontario's population actually grew between 2011 and 2016 from 775,178 to reach 780,140 for an increase of 0.64 percent. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Demographics in Northern Ontario: Getting Ready for Census 2016


On February 8th, Statistics Canada is expected to release the Population and Dwelling Counts for the 2016 Census.  This is of interest everywhere but no more so than in northern Ontario where the 2011 Census registered population declines from 2006.  Indeed, the long-term trend has been for a shrinking population in northern Ontario both in absolute numbers and as share of Ontario’s population.  In 1976, northern Ontario (Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Muskoka, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury [District & Regional Municipality], Thunder Bay & Temiskaming) accounted for about 10 percent of Ontario’s population whereas by 2011 it was down to 6 percent.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

2011 Census Results for Population In: Northern Ontario Declines

Statistics Canada released the first set of 2011 census results today dealing with population and dwelling counts.  Canada's population is up 5.9 percent from 2006, Ontario's is up 5.7 percent while within Ontario, the North is down overall by 1.4 percent.  As the accompanying table shows, the Northeast stayed stable in terms of its overall population while the Northwest showed a decline of 4.7 percent.  As for the major urban centers of the North, Greater Sudbury posted a 1.6 percent increase, North Bay a 1 percent increase, and Timmins a 0.4 percent increase.  The Sault and Thunder Bay both saw declines in their populations of -0.4 and -1.1 respectively.

The Northwest during the period 2006 to 2011 worked its way through the aftermath of the forest sector crisis with the region outside of Thunder Bay bearing the brunt of the employment and population adjustment.  Employment and GDP in Thunder Bay shrank by about 10 percent during the forest sector crisis and its population has been remarkably resilient given the decline.  Employment in the region outside of Thunder Bay shrank by almost 30 percent.  Employment numbers over the last year have been showing increases in Thunder Bay and the Northwest and these population results are hopefully a lagging indicator.  The Northeast has been buoyed by its mining sector though there is a redistribution of population towards the major urban centers.  Evidence from the Northeast suggests that should the Ring of Fire mining development successfully proceed, the Northwest can also expect to see stabilization and even some growth in its population.

What will be interesting is the additional sub-regional breakdowns in population with the Northeast and the Northwest.  For example, between 2001 and 2006, while the Northwest declined in population, the Kenora District actually saw increasing population.  As well, the aboriginal population increased substantially in the Northwest between 2001 and 2006.  Further results and analysis on whether these trends have continued since 2006 to come.