Briefly detouring back to the natural population change for a sec, this chart shows the long-term trend in Newfoundland and Labrador, since Confederation in 1949.
In the decade following Confederation, in the middle of the baby boom, the surplus of births over deaths — that is, natural population increase — itself increased, dramatically. At its peak, the natural population increase was nearly 3500 more babies than deaths per quarter.
Since the early 1960s, the rate of natural population increase declined. It was still high — until 1980, the province had the highest rate of natural increase of any of the provinces — but the trend was established. And even though the slope lessened somewhat in the late 1990s, the accelerating number of deaths, and declining number of births, pushed the province overall into its first quarterly natural population loss in 2003Q1. (Individual sub-regions had already become harbingers of the coming demographic crunch.)
In the first quarter of 2008, the estimated natural population decline — births minus deaths — was -253. That is the same as wiping a community the size of Sandringham, St. Lewis, River of Ponds, or Tilting off the map.
And this was the sixth consecutive quarter of natural population loss. From the 2006Q4 until 2008Q1 inclusive, the natural population decline was -610, equivalent to losing an entire community the size of Englee, Port au Port East, Trout River, Ramea, or Birchy Bay.