Originally Posted by Acajack
"Entertainment and shopping options" seem to be a big deal to my exiled Acadian family members who live in Quebec and Ontario.
In particular, being close to an NHL-sized arena for hockey games and other events is a big selling point for a place to live. Weird, isn't it? I guess I've never thought of that since most of my post-teen life I've lived in striking distance of either Montreal or Toronto (and later Ottawa) for this purpose.
Some of this might be rationalization though. "Hey, it's not so bad after all that I had to move away, because I now get to live near an NHL-sized arena". Of course, that's not to say that everybody is heartbroken over moving away; I am just making up an example. My point is that it's all murky and there are probably some types of factors that are nicer to think about than other ones that get downplayed in conversation. In particular I don't think people like talking about being subject to external forces or randomness (e.g. maybe some other place was better but I didn't happen to hear about it).
The employment thing for couples even has a name, the "two-body problem" (and it might explain why we're not going to see large, stable, upwardly-mobile polyamorous groups anytime soon). It kicks in surprisingly quickly; even in the largest cities in Canada it can be very hard for two people to live together for a long period of time and be at the top of their game career-wise. Usually somebody makes a sacrifice. If you move to a smaller city it can be impossible to avoid. One person gets a good job offer and the other moves there then figures it out.
Another issue in the smaller cities is that, even if you do find a great job, you might be faced with giving up your career or moving in the future if your job disappears. The greater options in a bigger city can give you more stability. Then again this can be overrated given how horrible the housing and commuting situation can be in the larger regions.
As far as NB and Atlantic Canada go, outmigration isn't really that high these days. The growth in the cities is much larger than the net outmigration from the region (actually some Atlantic provinces are net positive some quarters). The provincial populations are also staying roughly static. It's possible that all the upwardly mobile people are leaving and all the poor people are staying but generally speaking I don't think the demographics in the Maritimes are actually that bad.