March 13, 2007

Census Counts Not Final Population Numbers

The Honourable Tom Marshall, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, said the census counts released today by Statistics Canada are not final population estimates, but merely a step in a larger process used to determine final official population estimates.

The minister said census counts are headcounts based on 2006 census forms actually received by Statistics Canada. "Some people are missed during the census process. Separate estimates are made to ensure that everyone who should be counted as part of our population to determine equalization entitlements, demands on health care and education services, are included in the official population estimates" said Minister Marshall. "Census counts provide raw data that must go through several levels of analysis and be used in conjunction with other information before a final population estimate can be reached."

With the current 2006 official population estimated at 509,677, the minister said government expected the 2006 census counts would report a decline relative to 2001. "The official population estimate normally includes the census counts plus an upward adjustment to take into account people missed during the census process (net census undercoverage). Given the last three estimates for net census undercoverage were 1.4 per cent, 1.7 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively, when the official population estimates are finally adjusted to reflect the new census counts, the current population estimate for Newfoundland and Labrador will, in all likelihood, be revised upward slightly from current levels," maintained Minister Marshall.

"While these counts show that our population has declined 1.5 per cent, this is a far cry from the 7.1 per cent drop in the census covering the years 1996-2001. Government takes issues surrounding outmigration and challenges facing our rural communities very seriously."

"Since November 2003, government has invested millions to help companies in this province create employment. We have made significant investment in the fisheries and aquaculture industries, infrastructure, silviculture, and agrifoods. We are taking action to address labour supply issues with the establishment of the Skills Task Force, the business community is benefiting from the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Fund and Business and Market Development Program, not-for-profit economic development agencies primarily in rural areas are benefiting from non-repayable government contributions. By helping businesses to create attractive, well-paying jobs for the people of the province, we are addressing outmigration from our province," said Minister Marshall.

"Our innovation and cultural strategies and branding initiative, as well as our soon to be released energy plan, are designed to have a lasting positive impact on employment for years to come. We will continue to make strategic investments to keep Newfoundlanders and Labradorians living and working in their home communities," concluded Minister Marshall. "We look forward to receiving the final population estimates and are confident these census count numbers will rise."


Media contact:
Bill Hickey
Director of Communications
Department of Finance
709-729-6830, 691-6390

2007 03 13                                                        2:00 p.m.


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