Given the fact that I am working with data from the 2006 Census Tracts, I decided it would be important to begin by plotting a map that shows the population of Halifax Regional Municipality per census tract (CT).
What’s important to understand when looking at this map is that these are representations of just whole numbers – we’re not looking at a population rate of decline or density. StatCan’s census tracts, rather, are developed by a set of guidelines that take in account more than only population rates. Boundaries should follow easily recognizably physical boundaries or major arteries and have populations between 2500 and 8000 (ideally around 4000); the areas must be as compact as possible; and the populations should ideally be homogeneous in terms of socio-economic conditions (source). Therefore, CTs with lower populations on Halifax Peninsula are more likely indicative of latent socio-economic factors that promote lower densities that any sort of StatCan motive to consider these tracts as demanding special attention.
My next map, I think, will demonstrate density or growth rates. There was upwards of an 11% population growth rate in the Clayton Park area between 2001 and 2006, but the area’s surround census tracts didn’t see nearly as large an increase – that might be interesting to demonstrate on a map.
Finally, if there is a lesson to be learned on the production of this map, it’s to avoid using a blue gradient for HRM since it blends so easily with the shoreline and ocean. My next colours will be bolder, for sure.