"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Baby boom?

An interesting statistic-like statement from chief Counter of Stuff, Jerome! Kennedy on Friday:
'Baby Bonus' Update
February 20, 2009

An update today on what has sometimes been called the provincial 'baby bonus'. New parents in the province are continuing to take advantage of the Williams government's 'parental incentives' . Officials say, as long as your application is in order, funds to help care for the new bundles of joy are being processed in approximately six weeks. The Department of Finance says a total of 4900 babies were born in the province last year and, as of the end of January roughly 4100 applications had been received. Officials say they've currently processed about 3300.
If 4900 babies were born in the province last year, that would mark a remarkable turnaround in recent demography. According to the province's own figures, there were just under 4500 babies born in the year ending June 30, 2007. Preliminary figures for the following year (ending June 30, 2008) peg the number of births at just under 4400.

The last year (ending June 30) in which the province had 4900 or more birth was 1990-2000. The third quarter of 2000 was the last time that the province had had 4900 or more births in the previous twelve months. There hasn't been a single quarter since the summer of 2003 during which the quarterly provincial birth rate, annualized, would have yielded 4900 babies for the year. In fact, for 2008Q1 the preliminary figures show 1025 births, a pace which, without considering the seasonal variation in birth rates, would yield 4100 babies in a year.

(The most recent twelve months' worth of preliminary data, which smooths out the seasonality, gives the number of births from 2007Q3 to 2008Q1 inclusive as 4260.)

From that baseline, 4900 babies a year would undo, at one stroke, a decade's worth of demographic trends which are showing no obvious signs of turning around. The opposite should be true: the population of residents in their 20s and 30s, the prime baby-making years, continues to decline; if anything, the rate of hollowing-out in those fertile age cohorts has accelerated in the past decade.

All of which is to say one of the following:

a) Danny's Baby Bonus is the most successful pro-natal policy in the history of the world, to have boosted the baby output by 15% in just one year.

b) There is a massive baby boom on the go, with the same number of babies being born in 2008-09 to fewer than 125,000 twenty- and thirty-somethings, as there were in 1999-2000 when there were more than 150,000 likely babymakers living in the province.

c) The estimated baby crop of 4900 is bunk, or a mis-statement of a figure likelier to be not dissimilar to 3900.

You didn't think there'd be a demographic posting without funky graphs, did you?

Quarterly number of births (blue) and deaths (black), one-year trailing average, in Newfoundland and Labrador, 1990-2008:

Estimated population (thousands) of people aged 20-39 in Newfoundland and Labrador, monthly, 1990-2008:

Quarterly number of births (blue) and deaths (black), one-year trailing average, in Newfoundland and Labrador, 1949-2008:


At 6:30 AM, February 21, 2009 , Blogger Edward G. Hollett said...

I was struck by the figures.

4900 live births.

Only 4100 applications received by end January 2009.

And only 3300 people who have their cash.

The year ended almost two whole months ago. Seems a little odd for the numbers to be so far off.

They should already be paying out 2009 bootie call cash since the bonus works on the calendar year not the fiscal year. it will be nice to see the official stats and then see what is really going on.


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