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More Canadians moved to Halifax during pandemic, new StatCan estimates show

Halifax gained a net of more than 5,000 residents who moved from other provinces in 2020/21

2 min read
An image of the city skyline of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The buildings are framed by blue water and a cloudy blue sky.
caption The Halifax skyline is viewed from a boat in the harbour on a sunny day. Statistics Canada estimates that Halifax’s population was at 460,274 people in 2021.
Signal file photo

Halifax is the third-fastest growing metropolitan area in Canada, according to new population estimates from Statistics Canada.

With a two per cent increase in estimated population between 2020 and 2021, Halifax is in third place behind Kelowna, B.C., and Oshawa, Ont. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of people moving to Halifax from other provinces has sharply risen. 

In 2019/20, a net number of 3,227 people moved to the city from other provinces. In 2020/21, it rose to a net number of 5,594 people. 

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said these numbers are “significant.”

“The interprovincial (migration) is something that was hard to imagine a few years ago,” Savage said. 

In the pre-pandemic year of 2018/19, a net of 1,602 people moved to Halifax from other provinces.

Savage also said that seeing younger people move to Halifax “seemed unimaginable a decade ago.”

Of the net 5,594 people who moved to Halifax, 64 per cent were aged 18 to 39.

“We used to hear a lot about how people would come here, go to university, then go away to work and maybe come back to retire. Now they’re actually starting in building their careers here,” he said.

Patrick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, speculated that the pandemic might have heightened Halifax’s attractive qualities for some Torontonians.

In 2019/20, more than two-thirds of people who moved to Halifax from within Canada and outside of Nova Scotia came from Toronto. 

“As people were working from home, it didn’t make as much sense for them to stay in Toronto. I mean, I had someone moving … next door to me just two weeks ago, who came from Toronto, who’s now working from home … in Halifax,” Sullivan said.

Statistics Canada estimates that Halifax’s population was 460,274 in 2021. These estimates are based on the 2016 census. 

Statistics Canada will release the 2021 census of population on Feb. 9.

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Wilson Henry

Wilson Henry is a writer and amateur comics artist based in Halifax. Their interests include visual art, horses and podcasting.

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