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

Friday, June 26, 2009

Population observation (III)

The reason Lorraine Michael alluded to provincial demographics in the dying moments of her Crosstalk appearance was to make her point that the supposed boom of recent times has not filtered out to many parts of the province:
The majority of people, a large majority, live on the Avalon Peninsula, and they are benefitting in a big way.
This may be true of St. John’s and area, which, to be sure, are part of the Avalon Peninsula. However, if demographics alone is any suggestion, the benefits to the Avalon Peninsula as a whole may be overstated.

Since the provinces’ peak population in 1986*, there has been a steady decline in most areas, with particularly steep population declines in small and rural communities. For a while in the mid-1990s, after the cod moratorium but before the start of offshore oil production, even St. John’s shared in the decline. The metropolitan population slipped by over 3500, or nearly two percent, according to intercensal estimates between 1993 and 1998. Since 1999, the metro area has added nearly 10,000 to its population.

Of rural areas, Labrador has had the “least bad” population decline, losing “only” eight percent of its 1986 population in the ensuing twenty years to 2007. The Northern Peninsula and the South Coast of Newfoundland had by then each lost nearly a third of the population they had in 1986.

The rural off-Avalon island as a whole has lost 23% of its 1986 population up to 2007 — a figure which is very comparable to the population loss in the Avalon Peninsula outside the St. John’s CMA during the same time period, 21%. Or, on other words, the rural Avalon has really done no worse, but no better, demographically speaking, than the rest of rural Newfoundland.

Population by Region, as % of 1986 value

* The largest census population recorded for the province as a whole was actually in 1991. However, given that the 1991 population was only 125 larger than the 1986 census, after decades of intercensal population growth measured in the thousands and tens of thousands, it is clear that the demographic picture had already turned by the late 1980s or early 1990s.

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At 6:54 AM, June 26, 2009 , Blogger Edward G. Hollett said...

That pretty much conforms to what you pick up talking to people from the Southern shore and around the cape up through to Placentia especially.

The other area that gets similar comments is the northeast coast: no one under the age of 50 and not many of them either.


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