Tuesday, June 5, 2012

“Boom, Bust & Echo” in Pelham and Niagara

Do you remember the book entitled "Boom, Bust & Echo" that was popular in the late 1990s? I pulled it off my shelf last week as Statistics Canada released new population data for all communities, including Pelham, from the 2011 Census.

The book, by David K. Foot and Daniel Stoffman, theorized that demographics – the study of 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 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 Niagara Region (excluding Pelham).  It reveals some interesting facts.

In terms of population distribution, the data clearly identifies the presence of "Baby Boomers" – those 45 to 64 (in 2011) – in Pelham and in the rest of Niagara.  If you are one of them, you made up 33% of Pelham’s population, compared to 30% in the rest of Niagara in 2011.

The next group – the Baby Bust – born from 1967 to 1979 would have been 32 to 44 years old in 2011.  This group made up just more than 13% in Pelham and 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 large cohort with additional differences. If you were between 16 and 31 years old in 2011, you were one of more than 16% in Pelham and 19% in Niagara.

The next group of children – referred to as the "Millennium Kids" and aged from zero to 15 years old in 2011 – formed nearly 17% of the population.

Those of other cohorts include the "Roaring Twenties" (aged from 82 to 91 in 2011 and roughly 4% of the population), the "Depression Babies" (from 72 to 81 in 2011 and approximately 8%), and "World War II Babies" (65 to 71 in 2011 and just over 8%).

Perhaps you, like me, wonder what this means to the future of our Town and our Region.  As your Mayor, I will continue to consider what this demographic reality means in terms of current and future public services and facilities.

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

(To see what these numbers looked like from last Census, please check out one of my columns from four years ago.)