Census 2016: What this means for Atlantic Canada

By Salman Dostmohammad
AIMS on Campus Fellow

The 2016 census data have revealed a very important insight. The Prairies and British Columbia are now the fastest growing regions and account for roughly a third of the population. Ontario accounts for slightly less than 40 percent of people and just less than 25 percent live in Quebec. And then there is Atlantic Canada, which is home to less than seven percent of Canada’s population.

It is important to note this last part because over the past five decades, the share of Canadians living in Atlantic Canada has decreased. According to Statistics Canada, 10 percent of Canadians used to live in the region in 1966.

Several issues are at play, which work against the region. These include a low birth rate, the flight of young talent to other provinces (otherwise known as interprovincial losses), and lower immigration levels.

If the rest of Canada continues to keep growing at the expense of Atlantic Canada, then the region will continue to lose its relevancy in national discourse and public policy.

This problem has been apparent for years and the provinces and the federal government have indicated their commitment to cooperate with the development of the Atlantic Growth I will discuss the Atlantic growth strategy in my next blog post.

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