We Need More Nova Scotians

Nova Scotia’s population at the end of 2009 is the same as it was five years ago. Some might feel that a stable population is not a big worry but the total numbers conceal two big problems.

First, our population is getting older. Secondly, the population is increasingly urban. Neither of these trends is unique to Nova Scotia, or Canada. China’s rapid economic growth has been accompanied by vast migrations from the countryside to the cities. With few exceptions birth rates have been dropping all over the world.

An aging and declining population will be less and less able to support itself economically and socially. It is a most unattractive direction. There are only three ways it can be mitigated – higher birth rates, higher immigration, or lower emigration. A number of jurisdictions have invested heavily in promoting greater family size; none has achieved more than minor improvements. So this paper is about on attracting and retaining, where policy initiatives can make a dramatic difference.

Join the Conversation on…

I am convinced that this topic is of extraordinary importance but also that I may be missing some important aspects. Please contribute your thoughts:

  1. Do you agree that it is important to keep our province’s population stable or growing?
  2. Are there other good strategies to attract and retain Nova Scotians?
  3. A recent Statistics Canada release suggested that Atlantic Canada is much less diverse than the rest of the country. Would you welcome greater diversity in your community? Would others?
  4. Where does the leadership have to come from?
  5. Do you agree that a bigger Halifax is good for the rest of the province, and likewise that Halifax is better off if the rest of the province is growing rather than shrinking?
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