Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Boom, Bust & Echo in Pelham

Do you remember the book entitled “Boom, Bust & Echo” that was popular in the late 1990s? I was thinking about it lately as Statistics Canada released new data for all communities, including Pelham, from the 2006 Census.

The book, by David K. Foot and Daniel Stoffman, theorized that demographics – the study of human population – explained “about two-thirds of everything.” They wrote that demographics describes “which products will be in demand, where job opportunities will occur, what school enrolments will be, when house values will rise or drop, what kinds of food people will buy and what kinds of cars they will drive.”

Looking at Canadian demographic data, the book groups of the population into “cohorts” and names them. For example, you have likely heard of the most famous and largest of cohorts – the “Baby Boomers” – born from 1947 to 1966.

So I took the Statistics Canada data and compared our population in Pelham with the rest of the Region (excluding Pelham). It reveals some interesting facts.

In terms of population distribution, the data clearly identifies the presence of “Baby Boomers” – those 40 to 59 (in 2006) – in Pelham and in the rest of Niagara. If you are one of them, you make up 33% of Pelham’s population, compared to 30% in the rest of Niagara.

The next group – the Baby Bust – born from 1967 to 1979 would have been 27 to 39 years old in 2006. This group makes up fewer than 12% in Pelham and is 15% of the rest of Niagara.

Do you too find these differences between Pelham and the Region fascinating?

The Echo group – the children of the Baby Boomers – is another huge cohort. If you were between 11 and 26 years old in 2006, you were one of more than 22% in both Pelham and in Niagara.

Yet, the next group of children – from zero to 10 years old in 2006 – form only 10% of the population.

Those of other cohorts include the “Roaring Twenties” (aged from 77 to 86 in 2006 and roughly 5% of the population), the “Depression Babies” (from 67 to 76 in 2006 and 7%), and “World War II Babies” (60 to 66 in 2006 and 8%).

Perhaps you, like me, wonder what this means to the future of our Town and our Region. As Mayor I am thinking about what this demographic reality means in terms of current and future public services.

I plan to write more about Pelham’s demographics in future columns.