P.E.I.’s population is continuing to grow, but the Island saw a substantial loss of its population to other provinces over the previous year.
The Island’s 2018 Statistical Review found the province’s population has grown to 153,244 in 2018, an increase of 1.8 per cent from 2017. While many of the statistics are preliminary, the review shows that most of the province’s population growth continues to be fuelled by immigration.
Over the course of 2017-2018, 2,102 new immigrants arrived in P.E.I., a high number for a small province, but a seven per cent decrease from 2016-2017. However, P.E.I. lost a net 446 people to other provinces, a 200 per cent decline from the previous year, when the Island gained 444 of residents from other provinces.
Overall, P.E.I. gained 2,421 net new residents, a 27.5 per cent decrease from the previous year’s total.
All counties experienced a growth in population in 2018, although Queens experienced the biggest share. Queens County’s population grew by 2.5 per cent while Prince County’s grew by 0.8 per cent and Kings County’s grew by 0.5 per cent.
The review showed the Island economy continues to see significant growth, fuelled by the manufacturing and real estate sectors. The province’s gross domestic product grew by 2.6 per cent in 2018, while employment grew by 3.1 per cent.
Key economic indicators for 2018
- GDP: $5.7 billion (+2.6 per cent)
- Employment: 76,000
- Unemployment rate: 9.4 per cent
- Farm cash receipts: $496 million (-2 per cent)
- Manufacturing shipments: $1.9 billion (+8.2 per cent)
- Housing starts: 1,089 (+19.5 per cent)
- International exports: $1.4 billion (+ 5 per cent)
The unemployment rate, however, remains one of the highest in the country at 9.4 per cent, second only to Newfoundland and Labrador.
International exports increased by five per cent, to reach $1.4 billion.
P.E.I. continues to see a robust housing market. Housing starts increased by 19.5 per cent, while completions grew by 34.8 per cent from 2017. This seems to represent a slowdown from the housing market high of 2017, when starts grew 63.8 per cent from the previous year.
Some of this may be good news for tenants in the Island’s beleaguered rental market. While the annual vacancy rate in Charlottetown sits at 0.1 per cent, housing starts for apartments in the province grew by 103 per cent from 2017, far outpacing the rate of growth in housing starts for single-detached homes.
The agricultural sector had a difficult year due to last summer’s growing conditions. Farm cash receipts totalled $496 million, a two per cent drop from 2017. Potato receipts in particular took the largest hit, dropping by 12.2 per cent from 2017.