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Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

September 27, 2017

As of July 1, 2017, Nova Scotia's population is estimated to be 953,869 an increase of 5,251 (0.6%) over the revised July 1, 2016 estimate (948,618). This estimate is based on 2011 Census counts adjusted for net undercoverage, and revisions to population estimates are normal. This statistical release also revises the estimated population for July 1, 2013 through 2015.

Net international migration was the biggest positive contributor to population growth, with a net gain of 5,753 people in the province over 2016/2017. Net interprovincial migration was also positive, with a gain of 645. This was the second year in a row that Nova Scotia had net positive interprovincial migration, including the revised estimate for 2015/2016 of 754. The trend of net natural population decline (births - deaths) continued, with a loss of 1,147 people.

The number of births (8,467) was outweighed by the number of deaths (9,614) over the 2016/2017 year. This was the fifth consecutive year of natural population decline.

The 2016/2017 year saw the second largest number of immigrants to the province on record, at 4,356. This was second to last year's record number of 5,442, which included a large influx of Syrian refugees in early 2016. This year also saw the second largest increase in net non-permanent residents coming to the province, at 2,140. This was also second to last year's record of 2,634. Returning emigrants numbered 509. Combined, these components far outweighed emigration of 1,022 and net temporary emigration of 230.

The number of non-permanent residents residing in Nova Scotia as of July first has been generally trending upward since the mid-1990s. In 2017, that number grew to 19,119, an increase of 2,140 over the previous high of 16,979 in 2016.

Nova Scotia saw a larger number of interprovincial migrants arriving from other provinces (15,616) than migrants leaving for other provinces (14,971) in 2016/2017. This was the second year in a row with positive net interprovincial migration. The last time the province saw two consecutive years of net positive interprovincial migration was 1991/1992 and 1992/1993.

Interprovincial movements data show that of the 14,971 persons who left Nova Scotia for other provinces over 2016/2017, the majority left for Ontario (5,984), Alberta (2,814), New Brunswick (1,928), and British Columbia (1,308). 

Of the 15,616 persons who moved to Nova Scotia from other provinces, the majority came from Ontario (4,904), Alberta (3,374), New Brunswick (2,166), British Columbia (1,590), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1,084).

In net terms, Nova Scotia saw the largest population outflow in 2016/2017 to Ontario (-1,080). The largest net inflows came from Alberta (+560), Newfoundland and Labrador (+509), British Columbia (+282), and New Brunswick (+238). Net outmigration from British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador was notably stronger in 2016/2017 compared to the previous year, while net outmigration to Ontario was notably larger.

Age Breakdown

The aging trend in Nova Scotia continues with this most recent population numbers. In 2017, 162,533 Nova Scotians were under the age of 18, a decrease of 0.1 per cent, accounting for 17.0 per cent of the population. The 18-64 population was increased by 0.1 per cent to 602,867, accounting for 63.2 per cent of the total population. As Nova Scotia's baby boomers reach the 65+ cohort, the number of people age 65+ reached 188,469 (or 19.8 per cent of total population), an increase of 2.8 per cent.

Nova Scotia had the third highest median age in the country as of July 1, at 44.6 years. Newfoundland and Labrador's median age was 45.7 and New Brunswick had a median age of 45.3. Alberta's median age in 2015 was 36.7 years. The national average was 40.6.


 Statistics Canada Cat. No. 91-215

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