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Nova Scotia only province to average negative population growth: StatsCan

Declining population and outmigration to blame, Nova Scotia artist not surprised with data on the last three years.

Metro Halifax graphic

Nova Scotia was the only province in Canada to have negative average population growth from 2011 to 2014 according to a paper released by Statistics Canada on Tuesday. 

That comes as no surprise to Bee Stanton. 

She’s a freelance designer and illustrator whose creations encourage those still in Nova Scotia to stay, and those who’ve left to come home. 

She said she’s “taken a hard notice” to all the people leaving the province in the past few years.

“It’s obviously near and dear to my heart through my artwork because I want people to say here,” she said Tuesday.

“People are what creates opportunity.”

Statistics Canada’s paper puts the average population increase in Nova Scotia from 2011 to 2014 at -.01 per cent, compared to a national average of 1.11 per cent. 

The paper’s author, Laurent Martel said the province saw negative natural population increase -- meaning more people dying than being born -- in 2013 and 2014. 

“This pattern will continue in coming years as the population continues to get, on average, older and older,” said Martel on Tuesday.

On top of that, it’s not secret the province has had a hard time keeping people here.

“Nova Scotia has been showing some losses to interprovincial migration: there’s more people leaving Nova Scotia than getting into Nova Scotia, and that pattern has been seen for quite a while,” he said.

“If Nova Scotia would like to see positive population growth it will have to come from bringing more people to Nova Scotia.”

So how does the province do that? 

“If I had the answer I’d be running to the government with it screaming at the top of my lungs,” said Stanton.

“I feel like people need to be drawn back partly by sentimental value and partly with financial incentives.”

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