Since Statistics Canada recently released additional information from the 2016 Census, I thought I would write here about the demographics of Pelham. And, since they also provide information for communities from the 2011, 2006, 2001 and 1996 Census, one can compare the make-up and changes of our population over a twenty-year period.
As you may know, Pelham is among the fastest growing communities in the Niagara Peninsula. Since our formation in 1970, we have grown from 9,855 to 17,110 in 2016. That’s a 74% increase!
Other large population increases include Grimsby at 80%, West Lincoln at 76%, and Lincoln also at 74%; compare this with the entire Region’s population which grew by only 33% during that period.
During the last 20 years, Pelham’s population grew from 14,345 in 1996, to 15,275 in 2001, to 16,155 in 2006, to 16,598 in 2011, to 17,110 in 2016. That’s more than 19% population growth over 20 years.
But, the story becomes more interesting when one looks at age groups.
For example, our Town’s population of children and youth (aged 24 and younger) declined slightly (6%) in raw numbers over the last couple of decades. This cohort numbered 4,820 in 1996 and 4,515 in 2016. The number of children and youth represented more than 26% of our population last year and essentially matched the proportion across the Niagara Peninsula (which stood at 27% of Niagara’s total population in 2016).
What about our seniors – those aged 65 and older? In 1996 there were 1,925 seniors in Pelham; in 2016 Statistics Canada counted 4,175. That’s a 117% increase! Seniors now make up 24% of our population. That’s up from 13% in 1996. Across the Region, the proportion of seniors was 21% in 2016.
Statistics Canada provides some very broad categories for comparison over the last 20 years. For example, Pelham’s population aged 25 to 54 (the “working-age” population) declined just over 8% from 6,095 people in 1996 to 5,595 in 2016. This working age group counted for 33% of Pelham’s population in the last census.
So, broadly speaking, where was the majority of our growth concentrated through the last 20 years? Those 55-and-older grew a phenomenal 104% from 3,400 in 1996 to 7,010 in 2016!
(It is important to note that these demographic changes result from both new residents moving here, others moving away, and from the aging of current residents.)
While one must be cautious about broad comparisons from relatively small sub-sets of our population, these numbers obviously show trends. Please rest assured that Council and I continue to consider these demographic realities as we provide public services and develop community economic development initiatives.