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Census says County’s population fell 2.1 per cent

Prince Edward County’s population fell 2.1 per cent according to Statistics Canada’s first data from the 2016 Census to be released this year.

The 2016 data is being considered more reliable as it marks the return of the mandatory long form, replacing the voluntary household survey of 2011. StatsCan says more than 98 per cent of Canadians completed the form in May 2016, compared to 68 per cent for the voluntary national household survey.

The Statistics Canada data is used by governments and influences decisions on hospitals, schools, recreation and public transporation.

According to the Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population, the enumerated population of Prince Edward County was 24,735, a change of -2.1 per cent from 2011.
In 2016, there were 10,728 private dwellings occupied in the County, a change of 1.7 per cent from 2011. Statistics Canada defines ‘Private dwelling’ as a separate set of living quarters with a private entrance that can be used without passing through the living quarters of some other person or group of persons.

The land area of Prince Edward County is 1,050.49 square kilometres setting the population density at 23.5 people per square kilometre.

Deseronto’s population declined at -3.3 per cent with a population of 1,774 in 2016 over 1,835 in 2011.

Belleville’s numbers show growth of 2.6 per cent with 50,716 population in 2016. The 2011 figure was 49,454.

Quinte West also showed growth of 1.1 per cent with a population of 43,577 in 2016 and 43,086 in 2011.

The 2016 census of population in Canada is set at 35,151,728, a five per cent change over 2011. The provincial average is set at 4.6 per cent.

Further data from the Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population will be released May 3 (Age and sex, type of dwelling); Aug. 2 (families, households and marital status, language); Sept. 13 (income); Oct. 25 (immigration and ethnocultural diversity, housing, aboriginal peoples); Nov. 29 (education, labour, journey to work, language of work, mobility and migration).

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  1. Gary Mooney says:

    Here’s some useful info re population change, taking account of births and deaths.

    For Canada as a whole, for every 1000 people, births outnumber deaths by 3.4 each year, resulting in modest growth. For Ontario, it’s 3.3. But for the County, births are lower than deaths by 2.7 per 1000 per year, resulting in population decline.

    So, for 25,000 people, we should expect a loss of approx. 68 people per year, or 340 over five years. So, two-thirds of the County’s loss of 523 people between 2011 and 2016 was due to the excess of deaths over births. Net migration out was only about 180 people. Not so bad.

  2. wevil says:

    Fred many years ago we had the opportunity for an international airport at point petre that was turned away would have been many jobs an auto manufacturer wanted to build a plant in the county near the skyway bridge this was also discouraged this to would have been many jobs close to the 401 as well

  3. Fred says:

    Would like to hear more about the several industries that have been turned away.

  4. wevil says:

    the fact is our population decreased how many does not matter as long as we do not let some industry into the county we will continue to suffer a loss in population there is nothing here to sustain our younger people all we have left is tourists and seniors in the past several viable industries have been turned away we sure could use them now but it is to late

  5. Gary Mooney says:

    Olman, here’s the arithmetic:

    County population decreased by 523.
    But Picton and Wellington increased by 300.
    So rural County must have decreased by 823 to result in a loss of 523.

  6. Olmanonthemtn says:

    Sorry Gary not to be critical as I always appreciate your input but your math is off, there were 523 residents who left but the county gained 300 leaving a net loss of 223 not 823.
    As for people leaving my wife and I did so because: a) 40 years ago there were few opportunities other than public service jobs available if you pursued college/university graduate/post graduate studies; b) we saw it important to experience life further afield to expand our skills and take opportunity to network with a larger group of people who helped hone our creative and entrepreneurial skills. Once we had gained experience and matured in our personal and business/entrepreneurial skills we always considered we should return and use the technology now available here to continue our work. One wonders how many likeminded county residents have thought the same way and can do so for in the future while attracting others within and outside the county to join a synergetic network which could incorporate a variety of vocational/creative/entrepreneurial skills

  7. Gary Mooney says:

    Chuck, good question. I can suggest two possibilities:
    * Homes being converted from permanent to seasonal/weekend residence or vacation rental.
    * Homes sold by families (e.g. four people) moving away, bought by couples.

  8. lucy says:

    im surprised to see population fell 2. 1 %…I thought it went up. Just based on all the cars driving around. Im speaking of Winter time. (not summer tourists). unless winter tourism

    seems a few years ago. Id come into town Picton. in early evenings and hardly anyone around. NOw there are many many cars 8 and 9 pm driving around and at sobeys

  9. Dennis Fox says:

    As difficult as some of this information is to accept, it shows the benefit of the more in-depth and detailed census. Without such information, every level of government would be left guessing about what and how to plan for the future. Even when we know the facts, it is still hard to plan for the future, but at least the public knows who to look at and why. I will look forward to the upcoming Stats. Can. reports on the topics mentioned in this article – they should give a much cleared picture of what is going on in the County, plus try reading the Community Foundation report. They too give a good over-view of our community.

  10. Chuck says:

    Gary; if that is the case wouldn’t it be reflected in the availability of a significant number of rural housing units being available? Not sure that is the case. 823 people had to live somewhere.

  11. Gary Mooney says:

    Based on more detailed figures, the County lost 523 people in total, but Picton and Wellington gained 300 between them, so the loss to to rural County was 823 people. That’s a loss of 4.4%, which seems pretty significant.

  12. Chris Keen says:

    @Emily – the provincial debt is well north of $300 billion!

  13. Dennis Fox says:

    Just to get back on topic a bit. Check out the CBC news site – they have a very interesting map of Canada, showing every municipality – by clicking on it, you see the name, previous and current population. The County can barely be seen, but it does come up. I find it sad that here we are arguing about “us and them” when in fact we are all victims of poorly planned economic development – one that does not allow for young people to either remain nor be attracted to stay here. Perhaps when the next municipal election comes, we have people who demand answers and will elect those who know what they are doing.

  14. Susan says:

    I ask, how can one dollar of taxpayers money go to a splash pad ahead of affordable housing? Council once again needs to address the logic to the public.

  15. Gary says:

    Other than municipal jobs we just aren’t going to have jobs and salaries that can support young families. And why would anyone want to move to Picton and face water bills as high as taxes. So for those thinking we are on the brink of a baby explosion to save our white elephant rural schools,forget it. We long ago labelled ourselves as a retirement community and a tourist playground. One need lot look farther than plans for a splash pad,like that is a community priority!

  16. Emily says:

    Toronto insane housing market is moving eastward fast. Cobourg a lovely small town is now feeling it as housing sales are becoming unaffordable for the middle class. What I do not understand is how these huge mortgages are sustainable? What kind of money does one have to make to pay a $1,000,000 mortgage? The Province is $3 Billion in debt and we have housing virtually unaffordable. The bubble has to burst and then we are all in trouble!

  17. Mark says:

    Don Mills typical 3 bedroom bungalow just sold for 2.19 Million!!! They can move here and buy luxurious for $700,000 and put 1.5 Million in the bank. And I expect will be able to nicely handle the water bill. Where do County folk scraping by fit into the growth plan? Our Council needs to provide answers if this the direction we are targeting.

  18. Marnie says:

    Dennis, the them/us divide is not all the fault of the “us” contingent. Some of the “thems’ came to the county eager to become part of it. I’ve met a number of them who are good people wanting nothing more than to enjoy their new home and the county lifestyle. Then there are those who swagger into town with little regard for those who have lived their entire lives here. They complain about the noise from glider planes, the odor of fertilizer on farm fields and numerous other things that are all part of county life. Can you blame “us” for not welcoming them with open arms? They are here for 20 minutes and telling us what we do wrong. These are not “poor” people. They are wealthy, privileged folk. Regrettably some of them have not mastered the art of enjoying these advantages graciously.

  19. Dennis Fox says:

    The meaning of the word “poor” is to be interpreted as meaning “unfortunate.” I think most coming here, regardless of their income, came here to find a bit of happiness – not to be blamed for all the ills that have been bestowed upon them. When you think about it, it is ridiculous. Just think of how empty this place would be now, without the newcomers!

  20. Mark says:

    Dennis; “Poor people who came here”. Lol..
    Smart people would take the profit off the table and sell! Good return. Move to a sustainable area.

  21. Dennis Fox says:

    I think Jack Dall’s comments were pretty accurate about how the split between people has worsened over the years. The thing is, County people wanted an influx of money – which they got. They sold their land and/or home for a price they thought was right for them, they elected people to promote the County to outsiders to make their dreams come true – so don’t blame the poor people who came here – they are not to blame for any of this. The County people got exactly what they asked for – so look in a mirror before throwing stones at anyone. This is clearly a case of getting what you asked for. But despite the regrets by some, it is still s pretty good place to live,

  22. Marnie says:

    One of those restaurants that you named Gary sells coffee for $3. a cup. A couple of the others sell heart attacks on a plate. Not a great selection.

  23. Fred Flinstone says:

    Toronto folks sell for a million and buy here for $400 -600k. Take their money and get out of here. Enjoy life with that windfall elsewhere where you are not part of this $$ nonsense. The old County is gone and will not be back

  24. Chuck says:

    You need a healthy household income to buy a house in Prince Edward and raise 2 kids, probably $100k +. Unless a professional or in government or similar it is pretty hard to make it here. House prices are very very high here and discourage young families.

  25. Jack Dall says:

    My wife and I lived in the County for 47 years in three different wards. Two in the north and one in the extreme south. We now reside in Kingston. Our reasons for leaving.

    The ” them ” and ” us ” attitude which increased the further south we moved.
    Devaluation of property values because of the turbine issue
    The apparent inability of elected councils to accomplish objectives ( an unruly size ) with unequal representation between the have and have not wards
    Ever increasing municipal taxes which seem to be driven by the extreme high cost services for a very small population base.

  26. Dennis Fox says:

    Back in “around” 2006 I attended a number of council meetings dealing with “Tourists Destinations in PEC.” I’m not sure, there maybe a document of the same name kicking around Shire Hall still. The reason I remember these meetings so well is due to the fact that the rules deciding who were stakeholders had suddenly changed – after the document had been printed – someone decided to exclude the “Cottage and Campground Assoc.” from having a seat at the table. Naturally that decision became very controversial and that decision was changed. However, the reason given for their exclusion and as highlighted in the document – the County WAS NOT in the market to attract families, or those who could only afford camping. They(Council and the EDC) wanted retirees with money to be their prime tourist target – hoping they would settle here. So for at least the last 10 years or more, their plan worked! Now look at the mess and how those poorly thought out decisions have had such a huge impact on our school system, housing and the entire taxation structure in this community. Truly we need to start hiring people with real expertise to assist us getting out form under. What is happening now on the EDC front is just the same old stuff, with no idea of the future impact.

  27. Fred says:

    Subdivision development is a two edged sword. The Town needs it badly to get more hookups and users on the water system. Folks are reluctant to build or buy in Town and face the exorborant water & wastewater fees. Council has done little to address the issue other than continually raise user fees after they saddled the Town with a $30,000,000 wastewater plant. Who in h::l ever thought that a cost like that was sustainable or realistic? I doubt now the Town will ever get enough new users to stabilize the escalating costs.

  28. Gary Mooney says:

    Marnie, in Picton you have Gus’s, Time Hortons, McDonalds, Coach’s, Subway, Angry Birds and more, which are reasonably priced. There’s a $20 buffet (taxes included) at the Beck and Call each Sunday. If you don’t want to pay $16 for a burger, don’t go there — leave it for the tourists.

    Re high-priced residences, the owners are paying 2 to 4 times (or more) the amount of taxes paid by owners of more modestly priced homes, for exactly the same services. We should thank them.

    There is a severe shortage of affordable accommodations, for sure. Over several terms, Council hasn’t done much to address this problem.

  29. Marnie says:

    Picton used to be a great place to live Now it’s a tourist trap. It is necessary to go to Belleville to buy a lot of everyday items. There is not much parking and in the summer the town is a playground for summer visitors. The prices at many local eateries are becoming ridiculous. Well-to-do retirees and tourists may not blink but many locals find the $8. to $10. sandwich and the $3, cup of joe over the top. The town is not for the locals any longer it’s for tourists and retirees from outside the county who have lots of money to spend. We certainly need more housing, but AFFORDABLE housing, not the upscale condos that retail for mega bucks and carry crippling fees. There may be people leaving the county because it is just too expensive a place to call home these days. But good to know that we can all come back as tourists.

  30. Gary Mooney says:

    Changing demographics. A couple of years ago, I did some research on 2011 vs 2006 census data that suggested that younger families (under age 45) had been moving out, while older couples (age 55+) were moving in. I expect that this trend continued between 2011 and 2016, but the relevant info won’t be available until May.

    Rural populations. While our population decreased by 2.1 percent, I expect that there have been similar decreases in many rural communities. In our case, I wonder if the continuing uncertainty about wind turbines has been a factor.

    Population growth. The key to sustainability is population growth. In particular, we need a more aggressive approach to attracting larger scale residential development — i.e. subdivisions in serviced areas (Picton, Wellington).

    Tourism. I don’t think that tourism is costing County government much, and it’s providing jobs and services (e.g. retail, restaurants, attractions) that benefit County residents. However, I don’t see much (any?) revenue that flows directly from tourists to County government.

    Industrial businesses. I think that Belleville and Quinte West, with easier access to the 401, more affordable housing and a broader range of services constitute a barrier to locating industrial-type businesses here. We have to work with what we’ve got.

  31. Snowman says:

    For the past 15 years, successive councils have hitched their wagon to “The Creative Rural Economy”. (I think they have re-named it” Build-a-new-Life”? or some such thing.)
    A tonne of tax dollars have been spent over the years,some of it transparent,some of it hidden in other dept. budgets, some of it given as grants/bribes by Senior Gov’ts.
    The results speak for themselves. A declining, aging
    population that can barely sustain itself without yearly tax increases that are 2x the rate of inflation, not to mention gobbling up the new building taxation revenues
    as if they didn’t even exist.
    The Mayor and all those Councillors that have been sitting around for 12 ,15 years and more( you know who you are) should give it up. It’s not working. Resign or retire at least. The rest of Ontario is passing you by.
    There are few places any where in Ontario that minimum wage jobs are the norm, coupled with sky high house prices, sky high mill rates, sky high water rates, and crumbling roads and bridges.

  32. Gary says:

    Just one example to put things in perspective, we are paying over $200,000 plus benefits for a Chief & Deputity for the Fire Department for a population of 24,000. Salaries in a small Municipality are just way out of control. Big city salaries in a rural non affordable comparable. I could go on about Shire Hall but the point is made, no offense on fire service.

  33. Fred says:

    I need to chime in. If we are strictly a tourist area now, Council needs to tell the people that. No good paying jobs arriving and we are a service industry. Declining population, significant tax increases every year, ballooning municipal salaries,a severe scary water rate crisis, failing infrastructure, rural school closures, very limited retail and a Council that refuses to put in place a true Council that provides voter equity. Throw in $125,000 for the taxpayer to defend an OMB on Council Size cause you couldn’t rid yourself’s of the old antiquated Township boundaries. We need a full change in Council size and makeup providing voter equity and one that delivers what we can afford as a Municipality not what we can deliver to the rich that visit.

  34. Chuck says:

    It would be really nice to have factual information as to whether this vast tourism strategy is a benefit to the local taxpayer or a burden with the costs related to roads and infrastructure, impacts on local quality of life (over crowded) and the disappearance of affordable retail shops.

  35. Emily says:

    Well we very certainly are not attracting families which is the life blood. We are a playground for tourists. That will not sustain a tax base which presently is being hammered in every direction. But we make the visitors happy.

  36. Dennis Fox says:

    When you consider this information in light of what is taking place with our local Bd. of Ed. and declining enrollment, this isn’t encouraging news. It also clearly shows that our approach to attracting families and to tourism is also off the mark – we are one a very few places on all of the country where the population declined over the past 5 years. I am beginning to seriously question why our tax dollars are being used to support initiatives that don’t produce jobs for our young or help to defray municipal costs? I’m tired of the annual 4.5% property tax increases, without showing results.

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