Source – cbc.ca
- “…According to Statistics Canada demography analyst Stacey Hallman, it has been the largest single year population increase in New Brunswick, in both raw numbers and percentages, in the 155 years of Canadian record keeping…The development is without precedent in New Brunswick…This (2022) population growth rate in New Brunswick is the highest in the province since 1867, the furthest back our records go. The next highest growth was in 1945/1946.”
New Brunswick larger and younger after historic surge in population
The province’s median age falls for the first time in 61 years as young families flock east to put down roots
Robert Jones · Sep 29, 2022
New Brunswick grew larger in 2022 and for the first time in sixty years more youthful, as the province’s recent surge in population continued to accelerate according to new counts released Wednesday by Statistics Canada.
Led by a stunning addition of 3,000 people a month in April, May and June, New Brunswick’s population hit 812,061 on July 1 according to the latest estimate. It’s an increase of 21,663 in the last year including that historic torrent of 9,199 new residents in the final three months before Canada Day.
The development is without precedent in New Brunswick.
According to Statistics Canada demography analyst Stacey Hallman, it has been the largest single year population increase in New Brunswick, in both raw numbers and percentages, in the 155 years of Canadian record keeping.
The previous high growth rate in New Brunswick came just after the end of the Second World War, 76 years ago.
“1946 was the first year of the Baby Boom,” said Hallman.
“This (2022) population growth rate in New Brunswick is the highest in the province since 1867, the furthest back our records go. The next highest growth was in 1945/1946.”
But unlike the 1940s, when new babies drove increased numbers, recent growth in New Brunswick is being fed exclusively by newcomers, including the record arrival of international immigrants and a steady stream of Canadians moving east, especially people leaving Ontario.
Records show New Brunswick has gained 10,612 people from other provinces over the past year, but 91 per cent of those gains come from the largest province. That movement includes large numbers of families with 72 per cent of Canadian arrivals to New Brunswick in the last year under the age of 45 and about one quarter of those under the age of 18.
The 13,000 new immigrants to New Brunswick last year trended younger still.
That has helped nudge the median age in New Brunswick down to 45.7 years, six months lower than it was last year.
It’s the first time New Brunswick has gotten younger in a year since 1961. And it showed. New Brunswick’s birth rate, long in decline, also jumped.
Hallman said the slight shift to a more youthful province partly feeds itself.
“People who moved to Canada from abroad and also from other parts of Canada tend to be younger, so they may be having more children,” Hallman said
Growth has been officially encouraged and welcomed by the province as a solution to variety of problems, including what has been an aging population and growing labour shortages.
Last March, when Statistics Canada’s real time population clock for New Brunswick first passed 800,000, Premier Blaine Higgs marked the event as a special moment. Business groups have also applauded the development.
However, rapid growth has caused problems as well.
The availability of affordable housing has shrunk dramatically and the cost of owning a home has nearly doubled in many communities as the speed of constructing new units fails to match the need for them.
Healthcare, which was already under pressure, has also been swamped. In August the official waiting list for a family doctor or primary physician in New Brunswick was up to 74,000, an 85 per cent increase in just nine months.
In June, Suzanne Johnston, co-chair of the province’s health plan implementation task force, said new arrivals were behind some of those swelling numbers.
So far that hasn’t slowed the influx, although there have been small signs all might not be well with everyone.
According to the inter-provincial traffic flows, 2,115 people left New Brunswick during the first six months of 2022 and moved to Ontario. It’s the most who have done that in the first half of any year in the last 22 years.
Robert Jones has been a reporter and producer with CBC New Brunswick since 1990. His investigative reports on petroleum pricing in New Brunswick won several regional and national awards and led to the adoption of price regulation in 2006.