Monday, December 21, 2009

Easy Come... Easy Go

I was hoping the latest arrears numbers would come out today, but evidently no such luck. So instead I'll do a quick follow up to a question arising from Fridays post... that being did we have a similar influx of twenty somethings during the late 70's/early 80's boom, and if so, what became of them during the subsequent bust?

Easy come, easy go
The answer appears to be, yes we did, and they left. Just like in the last few years we've saw a distinct rise in the number of young people during the boom years relative to the rest of the population, peaking in 1981... and as surely as the economy cooled those same young people left the province just as quickly as they came.

In fact, the first boom in terms of migration was larger then the current one, even in nominal terms, thus vastly so in a proportional sense. From 1975 to 1981 the population grew by roughly 482,000, or 26.7%. Comparatively, from 2002 to 2008, the population grew by 457,000, or 14.6%.

This relationship holds for those of the peaking demographics too, as 23 year old population in 1981 numbered 19,214 or 51.1% larger than they had six years prior (when they were 17)... currently 24 year olds are now the largest group and in the last six years their ranks have swelled by 14,518 or 31.1% over what they were six years prior (when they were 18).

Now, we know after 1981 the population of the province as a whole didn't actually contract, growth just largely ground to a halt for the better part of the decade... the population of those 23 years olds did contract though, as by 1987 there were 4,700 fewer (of the now 29 year olds). There was enough overall in-migration to offset the out-migration of young people, and eventually everything settled back into their pre-boom equilibrium in regards to proportion of population.

So, if the economy remains slow we shouldn't be surprised if we see a lot of young people/young families leave the province in coming years in search of greener pastures... but the population as a whole will likely not shrink as overall migration should offset those losses.