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The Halifax Index: People


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Population growth and retention is more important than ever before. Between 2001 and 2013, net migration accounted for 2/3 of Halifax's population growth.


Key Findings

  • Halifax’s population grew by only 0.4% from 2012 to 2013, approaching 409,000, the slowest growth among benchmark cities. This represents a break with recent trends.
  • Behind the slower-than-normal population growth was below-average immigration (only 1,600 net international migrants), while out migration to other parts of Canada spiked to its highest level in over a decade.
  • University enrolments in Halifax grew by twice the national average in 2011 and community college enrolment continued to grow at a strong pace in 2013. University enrolments in Halifax are fastest growing in science, mathematics, engineering, and commerce programs, especially at the graduate level.
  • Halifax’s employment grew at a moderate pace in 2013, outpacing a number of benchmark cities that suffered from declines in participation rates, but falling short of comparatively stronger growth in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Regina. Unemployment crept up to 6.6%, but remained well below the national average. 

Key Opportunity

A population growth strategy for the city and province must focus on stemming the outfl ow of youth from the region and increasing the attraction and retention of immigrants. Post-graduation retention of the growing number of international students studying in Halifax represents a major opportunity. Policy should focus on creating more career opportunities for recent graduates, both domestic and international.

Download the full report for more detailed findings on the following topics (download pdf)

  • Population

  • Education

  • Labour Force

  • Workplace Safety


Download the 2014 Halifax Index

The 2014 Halifax Index tracks our progress towards many different indicators and our special analyses tackle two of our most pressing issues – the sustainability of our workforce and our innovation culture.

2014 Index Cover - aGREATERhalifax

The Halifax Index 2014 (PDF)

2014 Workbook (Excel)