Population Projections — Assumptions

Updated: August 2019

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Economic and Project Analysis has a population projection system which is integrated with its economic and labour market forecasts. The system is designed to project the population by age and sex for Newfoundland and Labrador and various sub-provincial regions, including economic zones.

The system uses information/assumptions about fertility, mortality and migration to produce three different population projections for Newfoundland and Labrador.

High Scenario Assumptions

  • Fertility – The total fertility rate gradually trends up from an estimated rate of 1.44 in 2018 to 1.61 in 2038.
  • Mortality – Life expectancies continue to increase in line with recent trends. Male life expectancy increases by 3.6 years between 2018 and 2038. Female life expectancy increases by 2.8 years over the same period.
  • Migration – In-migration is assumed for the entire forecast period. In-migration is relatively low from 2019 to 2022 with a high of approximately 950 in 2020, due to a combination of the winding down of the development phases of several major projects, low commodity prices, and deficit reduction measures implemented by the provincial government. Net migration increases to over 1,100 in 2023 as economic prospects improve and strong net in-migration is assumed over the 2024 to 2027 in response to improved labour market conditions due to the Bay du Nord project. In the longer term, labour shortages due to population aging are expected to result in more in-migration. Net in-migration increases to around 3,600 by 2038. Net in-migration averages about 2,400 per year over the entire projection period from 2019 to 2038.

Medium Scenario Assumptions

  • Fertility – The total fertility rate remains constant near 1.44 over the entire projection period.
  • Mortality – Life expectancies continue to increase in line with recent trends in age-specific mortality rates. Male life expectancy increases by 2.6 years between 2018 and 2038. Female life expectancy increases by 1.9 years over the same period.
  • Migration – Net migration is assumed to fluctuate for the next four years, positive in 2019 and 2020 and negative in 2021 and 2021, due to a combination of the winding down of the development phases of several major projects, low commodity prices, and deficit reduction measures implemented by the provincial government. Net migration becomes positive in 2023 as economic prospects improve. Strong net in-migration is assumed over the 2024 to 2027 in response to improved labour market conditions due to the Bay du Nord project. In the longer term, labour shortages due to population aging are expected to result in more in-migration. By 2038, net in-migration increases to just over 3,200. Net in-migration averages about 2,000 per year over the entire projection period from 2019 to 2038.

Low Scenario Assumptions

  • Fertility – The total fertility rate declines from an estimated rate of 1.44 in 2018 to 1.26 in 2038.
  • Mortality – Life expectancies continue to increase but at rates slightly below historical trends. Male life expectancy increases by 1.4 years between 2018 and 2038. Female life expectancy increases by 1.0 years over the same period.
  • Migration – Out-migration is assumed for three of the next four years, with a high of approximately 550 in 2021, due to a combination of the winding down of the development phases of several major projects, low commodity prices, and deficit reduction measures implemented by the provincial government. Modest net in-migration is assumed for 2023 and then is assumed to increase significantly over the 2024 to 2027 period in response to improved labour market conditions due to the Bay du Nord project. In the longer term, labour shortages due to population aging are expected to result in more in-migration. Net in-migration increases steadily to just over 2,800 in 2038. Net in-migration averages approximately 1,600 per year over the entire projection period from 2019 to 2038.

 

Economic and Project Analysis Division, Department of Finance – (709) 729-3255 – infoera@gov.nl.ca