The population of Nova Scotia rose slightly last year, numbers from Statistics Canada show, but only because Halifax is growing. 

This is the first increase in Nova Scotia's population since 2012, after which it declined in both 2013 and 2014. 

The bump is tiny, the province growing 0.1 per cent last year to 943,002 people. Halifax's population rose by 4,293, or one per cent, between July 2014 and July 2015. 

Nearly everywhere else in Nova Scotia saw a population decline.


(News Graphics/CBC)

See an infographic of the population decline here.

Guysborough shrinks the most

The biggest percentage drop was in Guysborough County. It lost 3.2 percent of its population last year, a drop of 245 people to 7,345. 

"Do the math," Warden Vernon Pitts said Thursday. "It's not looking good in anyone's books."

The region has few jobs, which makes it hard to keep people, Pitts said.

A proposal from Vulcan Mines to open a quarry near Black Point could go a long way toward stabilizing the population decline, he said. He also has high hopes for a LNG project in Goldboro, which he said could turn the county into a demographic hot spot.

Click or tap the map to see each county's 2015 population and its change from the previous year.

'We'd welcome them with open arms'

That's all the more important as Nova Scotia oil industry workers living in Alberta look to home for new jobs, he said.

"Hopefully if we get one or two of these projects off the ground, we'll be able to accommodate anyone who wants to move," Pitts said. "We'd welcome them with open arms."

Yarmouth County was next on the population decline list, shrinking by 1.6 per cent. That's a drop of 384 people to 24,357.

Cape Breton saw the most people leave: 999 left the island, leading to a population decline of one per cent. 

Deaths outnumber births

Deaths outnumbered births by 562 in Nova Scotia overall, although Halifax Regional Municipality and Hants County bucked this trend. 

Halifax saw 997 more births than deaths; Hants County 110 more.  

Last year the population of Canada rose by 0.9 per cent to 35,851,774. Alberta saw the greatest population growth, up 1.8 per cent.

Only New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador saw populations decrease with declines of 0.1 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively. 

With files from Rachel Ward