Halifax population growth, 2001 to 2006

Today’s map improves on last week’s iteration, which only plotted population figures per census tract in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  This week, I’ve traced population growth for each census tract in Halifax Regional Municipality using freely available data from the 2001 and 2006 Statistics Canada censuses.

A census tract (CT) is a a compact, populated area.  It should have clearly defined boundaries, a population that is fairly homogeneous from a socio-economic standpoint, with roughly 2500 to 8000 (but ideally about 4000) people living in it (source).


This map reveals interesting trends in Halifax population patterns. For the most part, peninsular Halifax and old Dartmouth have stagnant or declining populations, while the suburbs (especially in western HRM) show strong population growth.  Rural areas such as old Halifax County and the Chebucto Peninsula have roughly remained stagnant.  Some CTs, however, have rates of decline or growth that differ in large degree from their neighbouring CTs, including:

  • 2500008.00 . Located on Halifax Peninsula, this 16.5% spike in growth may be caused by the cumulative effect of condominium developments such as the Bishop’s Landing development on the waterfront.
  • 2500131.02 and surrounding areas. Lower Sackville showed a localized and sharp population decline, with rates ranging from 5-7%.
  • 2050025.02 . Clayton Park, despite being so close to peninsular Halifax, showed a 11.5% decline in population.

It will be interesting to see how the proposed development of the land east of Bayers Lake, which is divided between 2500025.03 and 2500024.00 will affect population rates in this area.  Perhaps the development (which likely won’t be ready in time for the 2011 census) will improve growth figures for CT 2050024.00 in the future.

Producing this map reinforces the reasons why census tracts should all have a uniform size.  Halifax Regional Municipality covers a large amount of urban, suburban, and rural land, and its census tracts’ population figures range from under 1000 to over 6000.  This spread makes it difficult to measure one CT’s population growth or decline against another CT’s own rate.  For instance the population of 205113.00, off of Windmill Road in Dartmouth, declined by 185 people in 2006, a difference of -20.6%.  Meanwhile, the population of 2050004.02, in old Halifax’s south end, declined by 158 people in 2005, a difference of -3.6%.  Since populations can vary quite a bit from one census tract to another, be sure to check the actual population figures of surrounding census tracts when comparing one colour code to another.

Population of Halifax in 2001: 359183

Population of Halifax in 2006: 372858

Difference: 3.8%