Sudbury slowly growing – by Mike Whitehouse (Sudbury Star – February 9, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Greater Sudbury’s population has increased over the past five years by about the paid attendance of the average Sudbury Wolves home game, figures show.

Population changes in communities across Canada from 2006 to 2011 were disclosed Wednesday by Statistics Canada, the first of a series of reports in coming months based on results of last year’s country-wide census.

It’s the third census in a row Greater Sudbury’s population has increased — a success for a community that has endured serious population declines in the recent past, a city official says.

Figures pegged Sudbury’s census metropolitan area population at 160,770 in 2011. That’s up from 158,258 recorded during the 2006 census, which was up from 155,225 in 2001.

The bad news, however, is that the city’s growth rate of about 1.5% during this period is among the lowest in the country. Only Saguenay, St. Catharines-Niagara, Thunder Bay and Windsor had slower rates of growth. Population in Thunder Bay and Windsor declined -1.5%.

Overall, Canada’s population grew by 5.9%, up slightly from 2006, when it grew by 5. 4%. Every province and most territories saw population increases during this period, but none more so than the westernmost provinces, which, for the first time in Canada’s history, contain the bulk of the country’s 33.5 million people.

The population of northeastern Ontario declined to 508,982 in 2011, which is 1,344 fewer than in 2006. North Bay, Elliot Lake, Kirkland Lake, Kapuskasing and the afore-mentioned Thunder Bay all declined in population in this period.

Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins increased in population by 0. 3% and 0. 4% respectively.

In this context, Sudbury’s numbers are reassuring, a city official said.

Population trends in Sudbury have historically been tough to track, as one would expect in a boom-and-bust economy, Mark Simeoni, the city’s manager of strategic and community planning, said.

Having peaked at 169,580 in 1971, Sudbury’s population declined to 152,470 in 1986, mainly due to downsizing in the mining sector, poor economic conditions and people leaving he community. By 1996, the population of the former region had rebounded to 164,049.
That was followed by an astounding loss of almost 10,000 citizens from 1996 to 2001.

Rather than periods of rapid decline and growth, the city appears to be entering a period of consistency, Simeoni said. Following the 2006 census, the city applied projections based on best-and worst-case growth scenarios, and the 160,770 pretty much matches the best case, he said.

Wednesday’s cache of statistics also included the number of households in communities. In Greater Sudbury, the number of house-h olds increased to 67,767, from 64,940 five years ago. Thus, the number of households is increasing considerably faster than the population, continuing the longstanding trend across Canada of smaller family units, Simeoni said.

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Northern Ontario

Greater Sudbury -160,770, up 1.5%

Thunder Bay -108,359, down .7%

Sault Ste. Marie -75,141, up 0.3%

North Bay -53,651, down 0.6%

Timmins -43,165, up 0.4%

Kenora -15,348, up 1.1%

Elliot Lake -11,348, down 1.7%

Kapuskasing -8,196, down 3.7%

Kirkland Lake -8,133, down 1.4%

Espanola -5,367, up 0.9%

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