The big get bigger, the small get smaller

Census 2006: Iqaluit grows to 6,148


The first set of numbers from Canada’s 2006 census show that Nunavut’s big communities are growing quickly while small communities are either growing more slowly or shrinking.

Head counters from Statistics Canada surveyed Nunavut in February and March of 2006.

They counted 29,474 people in Nunavut, up from 26,745 people in 2001, a gain of 10.2 per cent. Canada’s head-count grew to 31.6 million.

But Statistics Canada warns that these initial numbers are subject to change. That’s because they must now do more post-census surveys to find out if they undercounted some areas of the country, then adjust their estimates.

Their current post-census population estimate for Nunavut is actually 30,800, more than 1,300 people greater than the 2006 head-count. Nunavut’s next post-census population figures, likely to be more accurate than those released this week, will come out in March 2008.

Still, the initial numbers reveal a trend that head counters first noticed in 2001: that in Nunavut, the big are getting bigger fast, while the small are getting smaller.

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Iqaluit, now home to 21 per cent of Nunavut’s population, added 948 people, growing to 6,184 for a gain of 18.1 per cent over 2001.

Qikiqtarjuaq, on the other hand, lost 46 people in the previous five years. Its population is now down to 473 people from 519, reflecting a trend found in other small hamlets like Grise Fiord, Kimmirut and Chesterfield Inlet.

The small community of Repulse Bay bucked that trend, however. Its population grew to 748 from 612, an increase of 22 per cent.

And Nunavut’s fertility rate is still high: 3.1 children per woman, compared with 1.5 children per woman nation-wide.

Some of Nunavut’s population losers include:

* Grise Fiord, down to 141 people from 163, a loss of 13.5 per cent;
* Qikiqtarjuaq, down to 473 people from 519, a loss of 8.9 per cent;
* Kimmirut, down to 411 people from 433, a loss of 5.1 per cent; and
* Chesterfield Inlet, down to 332 people from 345, a loss of 3.8 per cent.

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Some of Nunavut’s population gainers include:

* Igloolik, up to 1,538 people from 1,286, a gain of 19.6 per cent;
* Iqaluit, up to 6,184 people from 5, 236, a gain of 18.1 per cent;
* Baker Lake, up to 1,728 people from 1,507, a gain of 14.7 per cent;

After Statistics Canada does its post-census adjustments, these numbers may change.

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