According to StatsCan, the population of Nova Scotia increased by only 0.9 per cent, while Halifax's population increased by 4.7 per cent. Photo: RicLaf (Flickr)

By the numbers

StatsCan data matches university enrolment

Population growth is slowing in the East, according to Census data released Wednesday


Population growth is slowing in the East, according to Census data released this week by Statistics Canada.

The average age in Nova Scotia is going up, and fertility rates are going down. Universities are just one place where we're already seeing the effects. The number of Nova Scotia students attending universities in the province has dropped drastically over the last six years.

Figure 1: Total number of Nova Scotian undergraduate students at Nova Scotia universities. Data: Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission.

The 2005-06 school year was a peak, with enrolment at 22,787. The drop to 20,327 just five years later represents a -10.79 per cent drop in the number of Nova Scotia students enrolled in the province's universities.

While a few schools (Acadia University, the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and Université Sainte-Anne) actually managed to increase their enrolment over that period, all of Halifax's universities experienced a decline in the number of Nova Scotians who enrolled.

Figure 2: Percent change in enrolment of Nova Scotian students in Halifax universities, between 2006-07 and 2010-11. Data: Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission.

Total enrolment, including students from other provinces and internationally, actually increased slightly at NSCAD between 2006 and 2010, King's and Dalhousie's numbers increased almost seven per cent.

However, for SMU and the Mount, the drop in Nova Scotia students corresponds with an overall drop in their undergrad numbers, although the difference isn't nearly as obvious.

Fewer Nova Scotia students should be expected, as the number of school-age children in Nova Scotia are falling due to the province's lowered birth rate.

Figure 3: Total number of school age children (age 5-17) in Nova Scotia. Data: Statistics Canada.

But according to StatsCan's newest data, the population in Halifax is increasing at a much higher rate than in the rest of the province.

Figure 4: Percent change in population for Nova Scotia (0.9%) and Halifax Regional Municipality (4.7%), between 2006 and 2011. Data: Statistics Canada.

This fits with statistics across Canada. Nearly 70 per cent of Canadians now live in large metropolitan areas.

While all provinces experienced population growth rather than loss, Nova Scotia's growth rate, between 2006 and 2011, was the lowest across the country at only 0.9 per cent. Almost all Nova Scotia's counties actually decreased in population.

Canada's total population increased 5.9 per cent over the same time, which is even faster than reported in the previous Census data, between 2001 and 2006.

The next batch of data will be released by Statistics Canada in May.

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Super interesting!!

Posted by Sarah Mateshaytis | Feb 11, 2022