Volume 95, Issue 85
Thursday, March 14, 2002
Canada humping less, dying more
Mention of "good old days" by elderly on the rise
By Michelle Broersma and Jeff Hignett
According to the 2001 Census Report released this week by Statistics Canada, Canadians are not multiplying at the same rate as in previous years.
While still growing, Canada's population has only increased four per cent since the 1996 census a record five-year low in Canadian history.
The census indicated that among the four major cities surrounding Toronto, London had the smallest population growth rate.
"There were no surprises [from the census]," said Vic Cote, London's director of planning and development.
Cote attributed London's decreasing population growth rate in comparison to the rest of the province to job-related factors like Canada Trust and London Life re-locating their head offices and the closing of Northern Telecom.
"Without employment, it is hard to attract immigration," Cote said, adding the city is currently investigating new growth prospects like the building of a downtown arena and expanding service land along Highway 401.
"As a community, we are investing in ourselves," he said.
London has an average population growth rate compared to other cities, which explains why many people choose to live here, said Western sociology professor Roderic Beaujot.
Beaujot said he thinks the population growth rate will continue to decrease and will only become a concern if the population declines.
Hamilton and Kitchener's growth rates high in comparison to London's numbers are partially due to commuters working in Toronto, Beaujot said.
For the first time in 50 years, immigration has grown at the national level at a greater rate than natural population, the census reported.
Declining birth rates and increasing death rates are reasons for this continuing trend, but this can probably be reversed, said Tom Wonnacott, an associate professor of statistical and actuarial sciences at Western. It is unfortunate the birth rate is so low, he added.
"This is more of a cultural change than anything else," Wonnacott said. "Life is a good thing and the more people enjoying life, the better."
The death rate is likely to continue to increase for quite some time as the baby boomers continue to age, resulting in an increasingly large elderly population, he added.
Copyright © The Gazette 2002