Assembly of New Brunswick
New Brunswick at the Dawn of a New Century
V. THE NEW BRUNSWICK SITUATION
New Brunswick's dynamic demographic changes are reshaping the Province's population as we know it. For the past several years, New Brunswick's population has been growing at a rate below the national average; a trend that is expected to continue well into the next century.
A. Population Profile
New Brunswick's population, in 1995, was estimated at 760,500. Women constituted 50.5% of New Brunswick's population, with men comprising 49.5% of the total population. Correspondingly, in 1994, the median age for New Brunswickers was 34.2 years; 35.0 for women and 33.4 for men.
The following chart illustrates New Brunswick's population pyramid according to the 1994 postcensal population estimates. It is interesting to note the effects of the First World War still being reflected in New Brunswick's demographic profile, with those aged 75-79 (who were born between 1915-1919) clearly standing out as a relatively small cohort. This is followed by the larger cohort of the "Roaring 20's" (born between 1920-1929) when total fertility rates remained high (above 3.2 children per women). The 1920's children are followed by the "Depression" cohort of the 1930's (aged between 56 and 64 or born 1930-38), when fertility rates declined below 2.65 in 1937.
The period between 1967 and 1979 has been labeled the "baby bust" generation in Canada, for it is during these years that fertility rates dropped at an astonishing rate. Women were entering the labor force at much greater levels, and birth control was being introduced, which, in turn, had a substantial impact on lowering population growth.
The "echo boom" generation is the miniboom expected from the offspring of the baby boom generation. Unlike many Canadian provinces, the echo boom failed to materialize in New Brunswick. It is believed that the out migration of baby boomers to other provinces in the late 1960's and 1970's contributed to this phenomenon.
The Aboriginal population in new Brunswick was estimated at 8,7001 in 1991; just under 1% of the total population. Of this number, approximately 70% resided within the fifteen First Nations communities. Today, there are nine MicMac and six Maliseet communities in the province.
According to the 1991 census, 64.5% of New BrunswickÆs population indicated that English was their mother tongue, while 33% of the populace indicated that French was their mother tongue. New Brunswick remains CanadaÆs only officially bilingual province.
A total fertility rate of 2.1 is necessary to maintain the Province's current population level without immigration factored in. The fertility rate in New Brunswick in 1994 stood at 1.50. This rate makes it very difficult to increase or even maintain population growth. If this situation continues, we will have to rely to a greater degree on interprovincial migration and immigration to sustain our population. New Brunswick however, has not been a primary destination for immigrants coming to Canada. In fact, New Brunswick receives only 0.3% of the total immigrants coming to Canada.
An aging population is usually characterized by a declining proportion of young and an increasing proportion of elderly people. In 1994, those aged 65 and over numbered 93,400, and represented 12.3% of the population; up from 78,700, or 11.1% in 1986. Of these, 40,300, or 5.3% were aged seventy-five years and over, and 9,500, or 1.3% were aged eighty-five and over; a marked increase in the number of senior citizens.
New Brunswick has one of the highest rural non-farm populations in Canada. Urban populations in New Brunswick consistently declined over the 1976-1991 period. Urban share of the population dropped from 53.3% in 1976 to 47.7% in 1991. Likewise, since 1986, New Brunswick has had a larger rural population than urban.
Out of 287 census subdivisions in New Brunswick, only 18 had a population density of at least 400 people per square kilometer. The Oromocto First Nation reserve had the highest population density of all N.B. geographies. Saint John and Westmorland counties were the most densely populated in 1991. Queens and Victoria were the least populated.
The above projections are based on the assumption that fertility will be kept constant over the projected period. The N.B.S.A. also chose one assumption for life expectancy. New Brunswick male life expectancy is projected to be 77.1, and female life expectancy is expected to be 83.2; 99.6% of the national level. The overall outcome for New Brunswick is one of slowing population growth with births declining and deaths increasing.