PEI

P.E.I. leads provinces in population growth for 2nd year

P.E.I. remains the fastest growing province in Canada, with a growth rate of 2.2 per cent, according to population numbers released by Statistics Canada Monday.

But deaths exceeded births in 2018/19

With drop of 0.3 years, the Island population's median age is falling faster than anywhere in the country. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

P.E.I. remains the fastest growing province in Canada, with a growth rate of 2.2 per cent, according to population numbers released by Statistics Canada Monday.

Statistics Canada measured the Island's population as 156,947 on July 1.

It was the second year in a row that P.E.I.'s growth exceeded two per cent.

Immigration continues to be the key driver of growth, with more than 2,000 immigrants landing on the Island for the fourth year in a row.

Interprovincial migration was also a factor, with 129 more Canadians arriving on the Island than leaving. That is in contrast to the decade from 2005 to 2014, when the Island was suffering a net loss of hundreds of people a year.

Natural growth falls into negative territory

Migration numbers are making up for a drop in natural population growth, that is, births versus deaths.

The number of births peaked on the Island in 2008/09 at 1,471, and has been generally declining since. In 2018/19 there were 1,397.

Meanwhile the number of deaths is growing. The number of deaths exceeded 1,300 for the first time in 2014/15, and did again in the last two years.

In 2018/19 there was one more death than birth on the Island, the first time in this century that natural growth was negative.

Still getting younger

Despite the decline in natural increase, the Island's population keeps getting younger.

The median age on P.E.I. peaked in 2015, at 43.9 years. In 2019 it fell to 43.2. Nova Scotia and Ontario were the only other two provinces where the median age fell.

Growth in the number of Islanders in their 20s is a big factor in pulling down the median age.

While the overall population has grown 8.6 per cent in the last five years, the population of 20-somethings has grown 20 per cent.

Immigration is a major factor in pulling down the median age.

Over that same five-year period, the Island lost 710 Islanders in their 20s to interprovincial migration, but gained 1,758 through immigration.

P.E.I. has the lowest median age in Atlantic Canada, but it is still well above the national average of 40.8.

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About the Author

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.

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