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Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
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September 29, 2021

The production of the demographic estimates are based on methods and models that allow reliable and accurate population estimates; however, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the assumptions of the models maybe invalid and administrative data sources are not optimal in terms of timeliness and completeness. Statistics Canada made adjustments to some components of the second quarter demographic estimates to account for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These adjustments closely follow what was done in the second quarter of 2020. Details can be found in the Q2 2020 technical supplement.  

Nova Scotia’s population increased by 6,279 between April 1, 2021 and July 1, 2021. The population as of July 1, 2021 was 992,055, the highest population for Nova Scotia on record. Since April 1, 2015 Nova Scotia's population has increased by 55,784. This quarter's increase reflects higher net interprovincial migration and immigrants.

There are seasonal patterns in quarterly population changes, particularly evident in births and migration. In the second quarter of 2021, Nova Scotia posted a population increase above the Q2 increases from recent years.


In the second quarter, Nova Scotia’s population increased 0.64% compared to the April 1 estimate, while the national population grew 0.24%. Compared with July 1, 2020 Nova Scotia’s population increased 1.04% (+10,166), while the national population grew by 0.55%.


Immigration from other countries has been a strong contributor to population growth in Nova Scotia in recent years. In Q2 2021 immigration increased from the levels seen in the previous four quarters. Immigration was 1,080 in Q2 2021, higher than Q2 2020 (861) but lower than Q2 2019 (2,125).


In the second quarter, Nova Scotia saw a net gain of 1,066 non-permanent residents. This was the second consecutive gain in non-permanent residents following declines of 2,337 in Q3 2020 and 350 in Q4 2020.

Nova Scotia’s natural population change (the number of births less the number of deaths) has been negative for several years. Between April 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021, there were 1,985 births and 2,414 deaths, amounting to a natural population decline of 429. 


Nova Scotia posted another net increase in interprovincial migration with a gain of 4,678 persons. There were 9,263 in-migrants and 4,585 out-migrants to other provinces and territories. The net gain of 4,678 interprovincial migrants this quarter is the largest increase on record since the series started in Q3 1961. Interprovincial migration from Jan 1 to Apr 1 was the second largest net interprovincial migration since 1961.

Out-migration from Nova Scotia to other provinces increased by 513 compared to the second quarter of 2020. Out-migration increased in all provinces except Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan. The largest increases in out-migration were to Ontario and Alberta.

Compared to Q2 2020, in-migrants to Nova Scotia increased by 3,305. The largest in-migrant declines were from fewer people moving from Newfoundland and Labrador. In-migrants from other provinces compared to a year earlier with Ontario (+2,227) and Alberta (+608) posting the largest increases.

Interprovincial migration to Nova Scotia was a net inflow of 4,678 persons in Q2 2021 (including the territories). The largest net inflows were from Ontario (+3,234), Alberta (+839) and New Brunswick (+294).


Source: Statistics Canada.  

Table  17-10-0009-01   Population estimates, quarterly

Table  17-10-0020-01   Estimates of the components of interprovincial migration, quarterly

Table  17-10-0040-01   Estimates of the components of international migration, quarterly

Table  17-10-0045-01   Estimates of interprovincial migrants by province or territory of origin and destination, quarterly

Table  17-10-0059-01   Estimates of the components of natural increase, quarterly