Roger Sauvé – The People of Cornwall and SD&G – A 10 week feature for the Cornwall Free News – November 3, 2009

roger We’d like to welcome Roger Sauvé to the Cornwall Free News family of correspondents.  We hope you enjoy his work and experience that he’s kindly agreed to share here for 10 weeks.   You can reach Roger via his website or by emailing us at

The People of Cornwall and SD&G – A 10 week feature for the Cornwall Free News

Week 1 – Out migration leads to population decline – By Roger Sauvé

This “big picture” stuff does not usually make the latest headlines. It should.


A closer look at the people of SD&G and its changing makeup tells us a lot about where we have come and where we are going as a community. There is good stuff and there is bad stuff  … and whether it is good or bad often depends on your perspective on life.

This series is really all about you. It tries to answer the question “How are you doing, eh?” The trends should be considered by local politicians, school boards, hospitals, local businesses and you. All of the numbers are derived from reputable government sources.

Like many other Ontario communities, the SD&G region has experienced a difficult economic situation over the last decade. Going back to 1986, the chart clearly shows that the region did very well until the mid 1990s. The region has been in a rather shaky holding pattern ever since.

The total population of the region grew very slowly since the mid 1990s and peaked at an all time high of 116,400 in 2004. This was just before the Domtar plant closed in Cornwall. Since then, the total population has been on the decline. By July 1, 2008 (sorry but that is the latest data available) the region had shrunk by over 1,500 people from the 2004 peak.

Who is it that is no longer around?

Demographically, the recent loss of population has been entirely due to a reversal in net migration to and from the region.

In the early part of the decade, the number of people moving to the region each year outnumbered those who moved out by about 500 per year.

Over the last four years, those moving out have outnumbered those moving in by over 350 per year, which is about equal to the total decline in population over the four years combined. This reflects reduced growth or perhaps even a loss in employment opportunities in the region.

Typically, the most mobile residents are those in the 20-34 age group.

On the bright side, the number of births has remained remarkably stable over the last decade with about 1,000 to 1,100 babies born each year. The number of deaths has also been steady at about 1,100 per year.

(Over the next several weeks we will look at the population trends in each of the counties and Cornwall, the changing age structure, incomes, languages, education and more. Come along for the ride.)

Roger Sauvé is President of People Patterns Consulting ( Roger is an economist and demographer and lives in Summerstown.

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