I think I mentioned once that I read most migration to Halifax was from other provinces and not our own. I guess this article just backs that up.
Halifax second only to Calgary in luring Canucks
DEMOGRAPHICS Metro may not attract many immigrants, but it ranks near the top in gaining people from other provinces
Halifax is a city of come-from-aways. It's widely known that Nova Scotia's capital lags behind larger Canadian cities in attracting immigrants from other countries. But few realize Halifax is near the top for drawing people from other provinces.
According to the latest census, 7.5 per cent of citizens of Halifax Regional Municipality moved here from other parts of Canada between 2001 and 2006.
It's second only to Calgary among major cities for drawing people from out-of-province.
Most came from Ontario, followed by New Brunswick. Only half as many moved to Halifax from the rest of Nova Scotia.
Combined with immigrants, almost one in 10 residents of Halifax arrived from outside Nova Scotia in the last five years. That's close to the percentage of newcomers found in Edmonton and Toronto. Only Calgary and Vancouver have more.
"The face of Halifax is changing," said Fred Morley, chief economist with the Greater Halifax Partnership. "We're becoming a national city, not a provincial city."
He noted that last month, the Conference Board of Canada ranked the most attractive Canadian cities for people to live in. Halifax was rated the seventh-most "magnetic" city out of 27. No smaller cities got a higher ranking.
Morley said the biggest draws in Halifax are universities, colleges and the military. Dalhousie University now gets more than half of its students from outside Nova Scotia.
That presents a "staggering opportunity" that other cities would love to have.
Some stick around when their studies are finished, but the city needs to do a lot better at retaining its young, educated workforce if it's going to prosper, he said.
"The good news is they want to stay. The challenge is to find ways to integrate them," Morley said. "We could do a lot more on all fronts to start nailing people's feet to the ground."
Other than campus activities and specials at downtown bars, Halifax does little to welcome students, he said. Some businesses participate in co-op programs, but there are not a lot of ties between employers and schools.
While there are some job opportunities, more are needed, Morley said. Anticipated growth in the financial-services sector might help. Incomes are around the national average, but workers can do a lot better in Alberta.
Alberta and Ontario are drawing many people from Halifax and the rest of the province. The Statistics Canada figures reveal that Halifax is near the bottom among Canadian cities for drawing people from its own province.
Only 3.8 per cent of Halifax residents in 2006 moved from other parts of Nova Scotia since 2001. That's 13,330 people, compared with 26,435 who came from other provinces.
"This perception that Halifax is sucking people out of other parts of the province, perhaps to the detriment of rural areas, is not really true," Morley said.
Nova Scotia lost 55,040 people to other provinces over the five-year period, and drew 48,035. The net drop was 7,005.
Morley said if people are leaving rural areas, Nova Scotia would be better off if they chose Halifax rather than Calgary or Toronto. He said it's a "warning sign" that people would bypass the capital and move to other cities.
Western Canada is an attractive draw, he said. Wages are higher, and there are jobs for unskilled workers.
Morley said Halifax needs to focus on drawing people back to Nova Scotia.
"What we need to attract people back is good, solid career opportunities."
Rest of province: 3.8%
Other provinces: 7.5%
Outside Canada: 2.3%
St. John's, N.L.
Rest of province: 9.9%
Other provinces: 5.8%
Outside Canada: 1.3%
Rest of province: 12.4%
Other provinces: 6.0%
Outside Canada: 1.2%
Rest of province: 13.5%
Other provinces: 1.1%
Outside Canada: 4.8%
Rest of province: 6.7%
Other provinces: 4.5%
Outside Canada: 3.8%
Rest of province: 11.2%
Other provinces: 1.3%
Outside Canada: 8.6%
Rest of province: 4.5%
Other provinces: 3.5%
Outside Canada: 4.2%
Rest of province: 10.4%
Other provinces: 4.8%
Outside Canada: 2.4%
Rest of province: 10.0%
Other provinces: 6.3%
Outside Canada: 3.7%
Rest of province: 5.7%
Other provinces: 8.0%
Outside Canada: 6.3%
Rest of province: 12.0%
Other provinces: 3.0%
Outside Canada: 8.3%
- Source: Statistics Canada