Nova Scotia’s population is declining at a time when most provinces are growing, according to Statistics Canada.

The information is contained in the agency's population estimates released Thursday morning.

Population in Nova Scotia

  • July 1, 2012: 945,061
  • July 1, 2013: 940,789

The province's population at the end of June was down by half a per cent compared to the same time a year earlier.

That translates into a loss of 4,272 people.

Overall, the Canadian population increased by slightly more than one per cent.

Canada's population is estimated at 35,158,300, an increase of 404,000 over the last year.

Cecile de Leon is on the hunt for a better paying job, taking her nursing skills out of Nova Scotia.

The skilled worker and immigrant wants to move to Alberta, the province with the biggest population boom, growing at 3.4 per cent.

“Most of my friends who stay here in Halifax, they move already out west,” she said

After six years in Halifax, she hasn't been able to set down roots here.

“Money wise, just tuition fees are so expensive," said de Leon.

She said paying for rent and food just adds to the burden.

Bill Batcules, is in the same boat as de Leon and said he's giving up on finding employment in this province.

“Just got laid off from a job a few weeks ago as a kitchen manager from a golf club,” he said.

Batcules is hoping to land a job in a kitchen in Alberta where there's so much work he could more than double his income, making it easier to better provide his two sons.

“When it's all said and done, I'll have money in my pocket versus barely making payments, struggling to stay alive here,” he said.

Economist Elizabeth Beale said Nova Scotia needs more people to keep the economy growing. She said there’s no easy fix.

“It's a long term challenge, that’s what we have to realize. It’s not something that we can immediately pick up and decide to change around in a couple of years,” she said.

De Leon said she can‘t afford to wait. She plans to leave Nova Scotia as soon as she lands a Licensed Practical Nursing job, that pays about $35 an hour out west.