Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Essay on Population

Essay on Population

A population can be defined as "a group of individuals of the same species inhabiting an area" (Enger & Smith, 2002). Populations generally have certain defining characteristics that distinguish them from other populations. Theses include “natality (birthrate), mortality (death rate), sex ratio, age distribution, growth rates, density, and spatial distribution” (Enger & Smith, 2002). The population of Newfoundland is, in this way, no different from any other. It has experienced many trends in population over the years, each trend having major societal impacts on the province.

In 1992 and 1993, the population of Newfoundland reached a record 580,200 people (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2002). Since then, the population has continually declined. On March 12, 2002 Statistics Canada released the 2001 Census Counts which indicated that since 1996 the population of the province has declined by 7.0% (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2002). Nevertheless, population losses have become much smaller over the last three years corresponding to a stronger growth period in the provincial economy. The amount of out-migration, a major component of population change, has gone down in pervious years. This decrease is due to strong employment gains, wage growth and a general increase in consumer and business confidence. While these factors have caused out-migration to diminish, net losses are expected to continue in the near future (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2002).



Another major trend that is seen here in Newfoundland is a loss of natural population increase. Natural increase, the excess of births over deaths, was only around 150 persons in 2001, the lowest natural population increase since Confederation. If this trend continues, it is believed that the province will soon see natural population losses. With low fertility rates, the number of children born per woman per lifetime, the number of births in the future will drop leaving the province with an aging population that will have increased death rates (Collins, 2002).

If these two trends are combined (decreased number of births and more deaths) it is easy to see that the average age of the population will continue to rise. As stated in the text book, if the majority of the population is post reproductive, the population will decline (Enger & Smith, 2002). This increase in age will be more apparent in the rural communities than in the urban communities of the province due to the smaller populations. As a result, the province’s population is expected to become more urban.

If the province’s population becomes more urban it is easy to see that there will also be a shift in the need for both private and public services. An example of this sort of shift in need would be that the demand for recreational or educational services would decrease while the demand for health services would increase in the rural areas (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2002). With an increased trend in the province’s population age towards a post reproductive category, a reduction in the labour supply could come about in the future.

In 2001 the population of people ages 15 – 44 (Enger & Smith, 2002), as know as the persons that have the potential to enter the labour force, out-numbered the potential retirees.

But when looking at the current population trends for the province of Newfoundland, it is predicted that the potential retirees will out-number those that can enter the work force. This is good in some aspects because it will lower the unemployment rates, increase incomes and possibly decrease the out-migration and boost in-migration as the chances of gaining employment in this province are amplified.

In recent years employers have noticed and are paying more attention to these trends. Many are making plans now and executing human resources strategies in preparation for future changes. Some companies such as the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOCC) at Labrador City and industry associations such as the Alliance of Manufacturers and Exporters recognize the cumulative impacts of these factors and are implementing successor planning, mentorship programs and other recruitment actions (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2002). For example, up to 50% of the Iron Ore Company of Canada’s workforce is eligible for retirement by 2004. In addressing this issue, IOCC is recruiting and training new workers to fill these vacant positions. In partnership with the College of the North Atlantic and its member unions, the company began a new apprentice training program in 1999 which combines in-class training with on the job experience. This program, named Mining and Mineral Processing Technology, is seen as an innovative and meaningful way to prepare for demographic change and to train the mining employee of the future (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2002).

In conclusion, Newfoundland is facing a decline in population. The population is also becoming more centered in urban areas than in the past and is becoming an increasingly aging population. These factors have serious effects on the future work force and also place more burden on the health care system. By becoming aware of these trends now, measures can be taken to ensure the well-being of our population in the years to come as well as in future populations of this province.

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