Cape Breton's youth population plunges

A new report suggests that the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is at a turning point.

Report outlines numerous problems in Cape Breton Regional Municipality

A new report suggests that the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is at a turning point. It says the number of young people in the community under the age of 15 dropped 25.5 per cent between 2001 and 2011.

The Vital Signs report was compiled by the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia. Allison Kouzovnikov, the foundation's executive director, said that kind of loss isn't good for the community. 

"The CBRM has lost more than 5,000 youth under the age of 15 years," Kouzovnikov said. "So just to put that into perspective, that's the equivalent of filling up Centre 200 in Sydney with folks under 15 years of age and then shipping them off somewhere else."

The report takes most of its data from Statistics Canada and uses that information to compare the CBRM with other Atlantic Canadian communities.

"The population as a whole hasn't quite gotten the sense of urgency that this issue really requires, that a healthy community requires a strong youth population. So the CBRM really needs to step up and start to think about this issue in a very serious way."

In the report's section on the economy and work: retail sales growth is down compared to the provincial and national average.

The report said CBRM's business and consumer bankruptcies are up, while the average and median hourly earnings are lower than other places in Nova Scotia.

CBRM also has the oldest median age at 47.5 when compared to the other seven main centres in Atlantic Canada.

Health care costs per person are also the highest in Nova Scotia.

The report isn't all doom and gloom though.

"There is a very strong sense of community belonging and commitment to community here in the CBRM and of course that lends itself to a good quality of life because if you like where you live, if you care about your neighbours, if you care about your community then that really impacts how you relate." 

The foundation is a charitable group that focuses on raising endowment funds that can be invested and then used to support charities in the province.

"The point of our Vital Signs report is to inform community members about what's happening in their community. Ultimately we do our work because we want to improve the quality of life throughout the province and of course you can't start to work on that mission unless you understand what our current quality of life is like," said Kouzovnikov.


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