2011 Census, What to Look For
by William Warren Munroe, January 2012

Population Signatures when considering school openings and closures

In February 2012, the 2011 Census results will be released by Statistics Canada. While the census provides total population and dwelling numbers, comparisons with previous census numbers reveal important information.

For example, my "Population Signature" charts (see example below) show whether communities may be gaining, or loosing working families. This question arose in the Qualicum School District as a result of the consultant's recommendation to close a high school.

Move your cursor over the following Population Signature charts for the Parksville Census Agglomeration (also referred to as Oceanside, includes the Town of Qualicum Beach, Parksville, and Nanaimo Area G) to see the differences between 1996 to 2001 and between 2001 to 2006. For larger charts, click the little charts in the left navigation bar.

In both time periods, and particularly between 2001 and 2006, more families (school aged children and adults 30 to 50 years old) moved into, rather than out of, the Parksville Census Agglomeration. While more retirees moved into, rather than out of this area, the addition of children including those under 5 years of age (not seen in the chart), and adults of working age contributed 4 people for every 5 retirees. What will the 2011 census reveal?

Population analysis provides the foundation upon which social and economic activity can be examined and forecasted. Analyses of the factors influencing the components of population change (births, deaths, and in and out migration by age and sex) allows insights into changing demands on public and private services, including opening and closing of education and health facilities.

Indeed, my population and enrolment analysis presentations helped highlight the importance of the changing, fluctuating, age distribution (the boom, bust, and now the echo moving thru the grade schools) when considering the opening and closing of BC schools. The addition of this information, as part of the public consultation process, helped justify the reconsideration of the recommendations to close the high school in Qualicum Beach.

Two other successes , both of which benefited all BC School Districts, came from the public consultation process here in the Qualicum School District.

Here is an explanation of how the Population Signatures are created.

Here is an example of a Regional District Population Signature.

For more information or to prepare for the up coming census release, send an email to wmpopulationanalysis@shaw.ca.

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Website content, code, and design by W.W. Munroe. Copyright 2012.