Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Halifax bars closing and demographics

In recent times few well known Halifax bars have closed. Pogue Fado shut down. Palace closed. Some other place called G Lounge I admit I'd never heard of closed.

Now bars will always come and go so maybe it is just statistical variance that three have closed in a short time. But maybe there's an underlying dynamic.

It's the next phase of the same problem faced in the education system. In the school system every single year for many years now there have been fewer grade primaries than the year before, and so on to fewer grade 12s each year for many years (well it started with the decline in primaries and around a decade later it was to the 12s). Now roll that forward into the key 19-24 demographic that is crucial to the downtown bar scene.

With fewer young partiers and a generally aging population there are just less customers to go around and some consolidation of the bar scene would be expected. Suppose Halifax can support say 1 downtown bar for every 5,000 19-24 yr olds. Then if there are say 50,000 of these then that would amount to about 10 downtown bars. If that declines to say 35,000 19-24 year olds then the market can support around 7 bars.

The boom in university enrolment, along with migration to Halifax from rural areas, papered over this trend of declining birth rate for a few years. But with the rural areas more depleted of young people to move to the city, and the decline in grade 12s now affecting university enrolment, then the trend of declining numbers of young people is now in Halifax as well.

No comments: