Ever since 2005, St. John's population has been steadily growing thanks to the province's booming energy sector. With three major oil developments, Hibernia, Terra Nova and White Rose, the province now produces 35% of Canada's light sweet crude oil.
And though production at these oilfields is expected to wane in the coming years, those declines should be offset by the Hebron oil project when it comes on line in 2016 or 2017.
Because of this growing industry, Newfoundland and Labrador is again expected to lead the country in economic growth. TD Economics forecasts the province's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011 will surge to 4.7%, with Saskatchewan following closely at 4.3% and Nova Scotiatrailing at 1.7%.
Newfoundland and Labrador suffered the effects of an under-performing fishing industry throughout the 1990s, causing many residents to leave the province in search of better employment opportunities. But in 2007, that 16-year-long trend was finally reversed. St. John's fared a little better than the rest of the province during this period, reporting positive net-migration figures since 1999. But the most notable improvements began in 2008 when the city welcomed 1,205 net-migrants, then 2,408 more in 2009 and another 2,294 in 2010.
Chris Janes, an analyst with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), says the St. John's census metropolitan area (CMA), which now has a population of 190,000, has benefited from not only inter- and intra-provincial migration, but also immigration.
For instance, in 2010 St. John's welcomed 288 immigrants, 497 inter-provincial migrants and 1,509 Newfoundlanders, for a total of 2,294 net-migrants for the year.
Locals are moving from the rural areas of the province to St. John's to work in the energy sector, Janes says, along with new immigrants and many returning Newfoundlanders who left the province five to 10 years ago to work in the oilfields of Alberta and Texas. Migration will continue to remain in positive territory, according to CMHC, as the city prepares for 2,100 net-migrants in 2011 and 2,200 in 2012.
To get a more in depth look at the economics of this thriving city, pick up a copy of our September issue, on newsstands now.
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