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NS Population: Meet The Provinces Leading Migration To NS

Jul 23, 2023 | Politics

By Andrew Macdonald

The Stephen McNeil Liberal government began to put in motion the Nova Scotia population reaching one million residents.

That became a NS reality in Dec. 2021.

Looking at the latest figures available from Stats Canada, as of April 1st, 2023, Nova Scotia’s total population stood at 1,047,232.

That increased by 9,450 (+0.91%) from January 1, 2023.

From January 1 to March 31, 2023, international immigration growth tallied 3,936 persons, part-time provincial residents totalled 3,827.

Since the pandemic, a growth sector has been interprovincial migration. Realtors have been busy since 2020 selling properties – sometimes sight unseen – to folk in Toronto, Calgary & B.C..

Between Jan and the end of March of this year, the total number of folks in the interprovincial migration sector totalled 2,690.

In the same period, 127 Nova Scotians left the province to move to other countries.

“From January 1 to March 31, 2023 Nova Scotia’s population increased 0.91%, while the national population grew 0.74%,” a NS Finance department report says.

“All provinces reported increasing populations. Alberta and Prince Edward Island had the fastest growth rates over this period while Newfoundland and Labrador had the slowest,” says the NS government.

“Compared with April 1, 2022, Nova Scotia’s population increased by 39,872 (+3.96%). This was the fastest year-over-year growth for Nova Scotia’s population for any 12-month period of the quarterly data that started in 1951.”

“Since ending a period of population decline on April 1, 2015 Nova Scotia’s population has increased by 110,961.”

“Over the previous 12 months, the national population grew by 3.14%. All three Maritime provinces as well as Manitoba and Saskatchewan reported their fastest year-over-year growth rates in the quarterly data that started in 1951.”

Nova Scotia’s year-over-year population growth was the third fastest among the provinces. Prince Edward Island (+4.61%) and Alberta (+4.46%) had the fastest growth rates over the past year. Newfoundland and Labrador (+2.04%) and Quebec (+2.09%) reported the slowest growth rates.

“Immigration from other countries has been a strong contributor to population growth in Nova Scotia in recent years. Although the January 1-March 31 period typically sees slower immigration, there were 3,936 immigrants to Nova Scotia in the first three months of 2023. This was the second largest quarter of immigration to Nova Scotia in records dating back to 1946 (the last three months of 2021 reported more immigrants).”

The government says Nova Scotia’s natural population change (the number of births less the number of deaths) has been negative for several years. Between January 1 and March 31 there were 2,085 births and 2,961 deaths, amounting to a natural population decline of 876.

A total of 6,955 new Nova Scotians arrived in the province from other parts of Canada between January 1 and March 31. In-migration typically slows during the winter months, but in the first quarter of 2023, Nova Scotia received more in-migrants than the same period in any previous year (data series back to 1961).

“A total of 4,265 Nova Scotians left the province bound for other parts of Canada between January 1 and March 31. This was the most out-migration for the January-March period of the year since 2015,” states the provincial government.

Nova Scotia’s population grew by 2,690 as a result of net interprovincial migration from January 1 to March 31.

Where in Canada are the migration coming from?

Ontario continues to account for the largest number of in-migrants to Nova Scotia. Migration from Ontario to Nova Scotia increased from 3,157 between January 1, 2022 and March 31, 2022 to 3,843 from January 1, 2023 to March 31, 2023. There were also a higher number of interprovincial in-migrants to Nova Scotia from Québec, Manitoba and British Columbia,” the gov documents state.

NS led the other Atlantic provinces in terms of migration from other parts of Canada, with the other Atlantic provinces seeing decreases in that category.

But some Nova Scotians move on and they are tending to move to Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick, during the first three months of the year.

“There was a notable increase in out-migration from Nova Scotia to Alberta during this period,” the gov states.

“Ontario, Québec and British Columbia were the main sources of positive net interprovincial migration to Nova Scotia (with smaller contributions from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Yukon Territory.

“Net interprovincial migration with Nova Scotia was negative for the other Atlantic provinces as well as for Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.”

The above figures in this story are from Statistics Canada and NS government documents.

For more news features on immigration, click here for Notebook news articles.

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