N.W.T. population shrinks by almost 500, largest yearly drop since 1999

The N.W.T. has suffered its largest yearly drop in population since 1999, according to a new report by Statistics Canada. It says the number of people living in the territory shrunk by 491 people between this April and last.

N.W.T. population drops by 1.1 per cent between this April and last

The Northwest Territories population shrunk by almost 500 people between this April and last — its largest yearly population decrease since 1999. (Chuck Stoody/Canadian Press)

The Northwest Territories has suffered its largest yearly drop in population since 1999, according to a new report put out by Statistics Canada.

It says the number of people living in the territory shrunk by 491 people between this April and last — about 1.1 per cent of the population.

Growth in the territory has remained relatively stagnant since 2006, with very minimal population growth. The figures are calculated through births, deaths and people moving out of territory.

There's no demographic breakdown in the current report, but there will be when the next report is released in September. That will provide a more complete look at exactly who is leaving the territory.  

N.W.T., along with New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, are the only parts of the country which shrunk in the most recent report. 

The other territories, however, continue to grow. Nunavut gained 636 people, while Yukon grew by 564 people between this April and last. 

The latest numbers are a hit to the N.W.T. government's population growth plans, laid out in the 2014-15 budget. The government is hoping to attract 2,000 more people to the territory by 2019, a five per cent increase in the population.

There was no additional money announced for the plan in the 2015-16 budget, but the territorial government says they are sticking to it. 

Earlier this month, the government announced that students who move to the territory after graduation could receive a $2,000 Northern Bonus applied to student loan debt. 

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