Halifax population changes, 2006 to 2011

A few years ago, I designed a few rudimentary Google maps of Halifax from StatCan data.  This was before I really knew anything about stats and data (n.b. I still don’t think I know much more than “some things” about stats and data), licenses, and how to properly interpret them. One map that I created showed Halifax’s population change, tract by tract, from 2001 to 2006. I’m giving myself embarrassment cringes by linking to it, but all the same: view it here.

StatCan has produced PDF images that show tract-by-tract population changes from 2006 to 2011 for all census metropolitan areas (CMAs), including HalifaxClick here to see Halifax’s population change table per tract.

Halifax Population Change from Census Year 2006 to 2011, Statistics Canada

Halifax Population Change from Census Year 2006 to 2011, Statistics Canada

Of note: the suburbs clearly rule the roost when it comes to Halifax’s population changes from 2006 to 2011. The only tract on the peninsula showing a significant increase (i.e., over 11.9%) is Tract 2050019.00, in the middle of the peninsula.  The increase in this tract is due, I’m certain, to the Gladstone redevelopment, the first major phases of which were completed – if memory serves me correct – in 2007 or 2008.

For what it’s worth, I’m not sure if I’m going to build a google map from 2011 census tract data. The work is time-consuming and there are other people in my field who have the expertise and software to do a much better job than I can. (And besides, my own hobby at the moment has more to do with plotting historic maps with Google Earth!) My work finding socio-economic data, making the odd remark here and there, and helping others make sense of it, is enough work – and fun – for one person.  🙂

Finally, here are a few outbound links to keep you interested:

#CLA2011 Google Map

Are you coming to #CLA2011 (or #CLA11) in Halifax, Nova Scotia?   Then this Google Map may come in handy.   I created a Google Map to help a few librarian-friends from across Canada decide on some things to do in Halifax and then decided to share it with the world.       Enjoy, contribute, and share and share alike.

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=212945797480833306418.0004a3f3e43b855ee05f9&ll=44.644689,-63.571229&spn=0.010687,0.025749&z=15&output=embed&w=600&h=350]

And since you’re coming to CLA 2011, make sure you visit and say Hi! during Saturday morning’s Technology Lightning Strikes! panel at 8:30 (Session G49).  I’m going to be speaking with a bunch of excellent librarians (read: absolute tech superstars who know so much more than me!) about emerging technology trends and how to integrate them into your everyday work with little fuss and hardly any muss.   I’ll post more details on this in a later post.

At any rate, come say Hi, or tweet me on Twitter – I like meeting people and showing them about this town – Halifax is a great town to visit.


Halifax Maps: 2005 Median Income, Married-Couple Families

This week’s map shows us 2005 median incomes for married-couple families in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Don’t let that long topic get to you: although Statistics Canada can sometimes get a little difficult with their language, it’s not too hard to decipher:

2005 median income – This is not the average income for the tract but the income that separates the top half of reported incomes from the lower half of incomes in the area.  This is a commonly used value when considering income because it prevents incredibly high and incredibly low incomes from affecting a stated average.

married-couple families – StatCan records income for different family types.  There are lone-parent families, of which “female-lone parent” and “male-lone parent” are subsets.  StatCan also lists dual-parent families (my term).  In these are two distinct kinds: married-couple families and common-law families. However, Statistics Canada does not combine these values for us into one field as they do with lone-parent families, so we must consider them individually.


[Click here for a full-window map.]

Two interesting patterns emerge on this map.  The first pattern is the manner in which lower median incomes become prevalent as one moves west to east.  The further into old Halifax County one drives, the lower the median income will be.  Presumably, lower rural-based incomes and dual-parent families who hold only one reported income between them account for this.  Note, however, that in rural western Halifax county, we nonetheless find higher incomes: the incomes over extreme western Halifax are nearly double the incomes in extreme eastern Halifax.

The second pattern is the high incomes to be found on Halifax Peninsula and along the Bedford Basin.  These incomes should be expected, given the socio-economic patterns we see in these areas (e.g.: highly educated, fully employed households). What is of interest, though, is the proximity of Halifax’s highest median income to its lowest:

Highest income for married couples in Halifax:

  • Tract 2050005.00 (which I’ve called South End-Gorsebrook), lying on the peninsula’s shores:  $194,622

Lowest income for married couples in Halifax:

These tracts, nearly side-by-side one another on the Halifax Peninsula, house two distinct populations that are tied at the hip – the student underclass studying and working at the post-secondary schools and hospitals that dot the south end, and the professional class that is employed by these institutions.  I’m painting with broad strokes here, of course, but it does serve as a little bit of context to explain how these two different income levels lie within only two or three kilometres of one another.


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%

Introducing a Halifax Google Map

(03 Jan 2010: Updates – Added links to the CT data files.)

I have something to share…


You’re looking at a colorful map of Halifax Regional Municipality.  Using information gathered from the 2006 Census, I’ve plotted the 2006 Census Tracts onto a map of Halifax using Google Earth and Google Maps so that data can be analyzed visually in the future. Aside from the colors and boundaries, there is no data attached to this particular map; this is a New Year’s project of sorts, so I hope to produce one rendered map of the city, region, or province per week.

I’ve been toying with the idea for this map for some time.  I originally began to mark up a map of Nova Scotia’s provincial constituencies last spring, but that project gave way to other concerns (i.e. the great outdoors) and I’ve since put it on the backburner since there is a new government on Hollis St.  Instead, I’ve produced a map this is closer to my professional interests.  I work regularly with socio-economic data from Statistics Canada and I’m familiar with its 2006 Census tools as well as with CANSIM and E-Stat; mashing up the data I use on a regular basis is a visual extension of my own research.

This page has been influenced from many other sites that deploy Google Earth and ArcGIS data on the internet – The Toronto Star’s Map of the Week, and the CBC‘s and the Globe and Mail‘s 2008 election coverage come to mind.  If you like what you see here, then consider checking out those sites as well.

For what it’s worth, the data used to produce this particular map is available on the Internet but is held through Crown Copyright by Statistics Canada.  I’m producing it anyway, though, since our fair dealing provisions allow for research and scholarship, which this is intended to be.  (i.e. Copyright Act and CCH are on my side, more or less.)