Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More Pelham Stats

You may recall that my last column was about the demographics of Pelham – that is, the study of human population for our Town.

You see, Statistics Canada recently released new information from the 2006 Census. And, since they also provide information for communities from the 2001 and 1996 Census, one can compare the make-up and growth of our population over a ten-year period.

As you may know, Pelham is the fastest growing municipality in the Region. Since our formation in 1970, we have grown from 9,855 to 16,155 in 2006. That’s a 64% increase! The next largest increases are West Lincoln at 60%, Lincoln at 59%, and Grimsby at 58%; the entire Region’s population grew by only 27% during that period.

During the last decade, Pelham’s population grew from 14,345 in 1996, to 15,275 in 2001 (an increase of 6.5%), to 16,155 in 2006 (+5.8%).

But, as you may recall from my last column, the story becomes more interesting when one looks at age groups.

For example, our Town’s population of children (aged 14 and younger) declined in raw numbers over the last decade – from 2,920 in 1996 to 2,745 in 2006. This was a 6% decrease! It’s no surprise, therefore, that the proportion of children also dropped 3% from 20% of our Town in 1996 to 17% in 2006. According to a recent report, the proportion of children across the Region is expected to decline from 16.4% in 2006 to 14.3% in 2031.

What about our seniors – those aged 65 and older? In 1996 there were 1,925 seniors in Pelham; in 2006 Statistics Canada counted 2,680. That’s a 39% increase! Seniors now make up 16.5% of our population, up from 13% in 1996. Across the Region, the proportion of seniors is expected to increase from 17% in 2006 to 27% in 2031!

Statistics Canada provides some very broad categories for comparison over the last decade. For example, Pelham’s population aged zero to 24 grew 3% from 4,820 in 1996 to 4,965 in 2006. Our population aged 25 to 54 essentially flat-lined at a 1.1% growth from 6,095 in 1996 to 6,165 in 2006. So, broadly speaking, where was the majority of our growth concentrated? Those 55 and older grew a phenomenal 46% from 3,400 in 1996 to 5,030 in 2006! (One must be cautious of these broad comparisons; this growth is because of both new residents and the aging of current residents.)

As your Mayor, I continue to consider what these demographic realities mean for our current and future public services.

You may contact Mayor Dave at