Thursday, December 26, 2013

Farewell to Nova Scotia

I'd heard a while ago that Nova Scotia lost over 4,000 people in just the last year. I knew that was bad.

But it's more than bad. The base statscan data is just awful. The loss of 4,300 people leads the nation. There are also more deaths than births in Nova Scotia each year.

But it gets even worse if you look at it by age group. The -4,300 is much worse than it looks. As the senior 65+ age group gained 6,400. So among the non-seniors under age 65 Nova Scotia shed 10,700 persons.

Using the statscan age group breakdowns we can see that there are around 774,000 people under age 65 in Nova Scotia. That means the under 65 lost 1.4% in just the last year. This is horrible. Those feel like Detroit numbers.

Now some of the loss is older middle aged graduating into the 65+ group. So if we estimate the net 6,400 new seniors as coming from the previous 64 year olds then there's still the 4,300 who voluntarily left Nova Scotia. They voted themselves off the island. So 0.55%, or about 1 in 180 people under age 65 just chose to leave in the last year.

I don't have the data on how many 65+ seniors died in the last year vs how many 64s became seniors vs net seniors moving to or leaving Nova Scotia from other areas vs births and new people moving to Nova Scotia. I believe the estimate of 4,300 under 65s choosing to leave Nova Scotia is close.


So Nova Scotia is in decline. Possibly terminal decline. I'm not going to speculate why in this post. I don't really have a strong theory. In the last generation the PC, Liberal and NDP have all elected solid majorities. So the voters have definitely been willing to make changes. The results just haven't been there. But again I said I wouldn't attempt to understand why Nova Scotia is going extinct.

This isn't a recent development. I remember back around the millennium 1999 there was a remarkable statistic published. From 1970-2000 the number of births in Nova Scotia declined every single year. That's incredible, not even once in that span was there an increase. Well of course if you play that out long enough then eventually there will be a year when the number of births finally declines to zero. And a few decades after that final child is born then you just go voluntarily extinct.


Can it be turned around? Will Nova Scotia eventually find bottom and stabilize its population at some lower point? What would that point be 700,000, 500,000, 300,000? Again probably not to speculate on in this post. Right now it doesn't look good. As long as deaths outnumber births and people leaving outnumber people moving in then it won't stabilize, it will just eventually wind all the way down.

No comments: