August 30, 2016

Atlantic Canada is at a Demographic Turning Point

The Atlantic Provinces have a set of characteristics that make them unique. This is evident in both their demographic trends and in how housing demand has evolved.

Fewer Young Adults and a Rapidly Aging Population

In the four Atlantic Provinces, the young adult population aged 25 – 34 has been dwindling while the population 75 and over continues to grow rapidly. Fewer young adults means fewer household formations and a smaller and delayed pool of first time home buyers. An aging population base, however, means a greater demand for rental accommodations. The more hassle free lifestyle associated with renting is attractive to those wishing to downsize.

As our population continues to age more rapidly, the availability of seniors’ housing and the ability to help others to age in place will be critical.

International Migration is the Driving Force Behind Population Growth

With declining fertility trends and an aging population, provincial growth has been and will continue to be driven by migration.

Weak population growth has made a push for policies to help support international migration essential. Although international migration levels provide a population boost to the provinces, newcomers often opt for rental accommodations rather than new home construction.

Declining Fertility Rates Mixed with Rising Education Levels

Since 1975, the number of births in the four Atlantic Provinces has declined by 44.7 per cent, while the number of deaths has climbed by 37.9 per cent.

At the same time, female employment levels have more than doubled from 1976 – 2015. The growth in the number of women in the workforce has correlated with the rise in educational attainment among women. As a result, delaying family and smaller family sizes have become more common.

Births vs. Deaths, Atlantic Canada

   Text version
 BirthsDeaths
1974 – 7538,25416,279
75 – 7637,93516,437
76 – 7737,22116,504
77 – 7836,25416,112
78 – 7935,50416,095
1979 – 8035,45216,566
80 – 8134,94916,381
81 – 8234,09016,403
82 – 8333,98916,917
83 – 8433,44016,878
1984 – 8533,04116,488
85 – 8632,82117,330
86 – 8731,75917,267
87 – 8831,10017,386
88 – 8931,24317,618
1989 – 9032,78818,112
90 – 9131,38617,617
91 – 9230,25217,943
92 – 9329,47318,299
93 – 9428,46318,514
1994 – 9527,36118,876
95 – 9626,74818,716
96 – 9725,38819,433
97 – 9824,57019,667
98 – 9923,60219,070
1999 – 0023,75419,298
00 – 0122,23719,261
01 – 0221,61319,318
02 – 0321,70919,618
03 – 0421,78620,121
2004 – 0521,36320,123
05 – 0621,20319,512
06 – 0721,72520,386
07 – 0822,49420,384
08 – 0922,76620,055
2009 – 1022,83820,217
10 – 1122,16120,805
11 – 1221,73320,903

Source: CANSIM table 051-0004

Births vs. Deaths, Atlantic Canada (Projections)


Text version
Projections
 BirthsDeaths
2012 – 1321,64723,145
2013 – 1421,75923,580
2014 – 1521,70524,006
2015 – 1621,61624,457
2016 – 1721,60424,939
2017 – 1821,54825,430
2018 – 1921,47725,955
2019 – 2021,39626,467
2020 – 2121,09427,003
2021 – 2220,58327,560
2022 – 2319,94128,146
2023 – 2419,34628,738
2024 – 2519,02529,349
2025 – 2618,70429,964
2026 – 2718,27530,576
2027 – 2817,79931,188
2028 – 2917,37231,806
2029 – 3017,11032,421
2030 – 3116,90533,036
2031 – 3216,71033,639
2032 – 3316,53134,211
2033 – 3416,38134,758
2034 – 3516,27135,273
2035 – 3616,18735,732

Source: CMHC and PHD Model Estimation

A Turning Point

Put together, these trends have created changes in housing demand, including:

  • declines in the single-detached new home market,
  • increases in rental apartment construction and
  • conditions that favour buyers in the resale market.

We are at a turning point in the Atlantic Provinces where natural increase will no longer be enough to sustain or grow the population. As these trends continue, housing demand will shift, accommodating the needs of a smaller young adult population in addition to an ever growing senior population.

N.B. Due to the fact that CMHC’s publications are not organized by region, this report exists in four versions, one for each Atlantic province. While they have different titles, the contents of the reports are the same. This quick read links to the Prince Edward Island version, which was chosen at random.

Read the full report – Housing Market Insight, Atlantic Canada

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