Gross migration

Counting those coming and leaving.

Jens von Bergmann

2 minute read

We have spent much digital ink on the myth of fleeing Millenials, and related misconceptions around the difference between changing sizes of age groups and net migration. And one of our favourite CensusMapper maps visualizes net-migration across Canada.

Today we want to take a slightly different angle and take a quick look at gross migration, that is look separately at in- and out-migration. More specifically, we are interested in separating out interprovincial and intraprovincial in- and out-migrants, as well as external in-migrants. Unfortunately the census does not have data on external out-migrants since they don’t live in Canada at the time of the census. Duh.

Components of gross migration

Here is a quick view of gross-migration by age group for selected CMAs.

We see how large a role external migration plays for Canada’s “international arrival” metropolitan areas of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, with a more muted role in Calgary and much lower impact in Victoria and Ottawa.

Components of net migration

To better understand the role of the “international arrival” CMAs, we can collapse the interprovincial and intraprovincial migration to their respective net migration.

Doing so brings the “international arrival” nature of the large CMAs, where lots of external migrants first settle and then disperse from there. For Ottawa - Gatineau and Victoria we see the “university slingshot” in action, attracting lots of in-migrants (domestic and internationally) in their 20s, and sending them off again across Canada to launch their careers in the 30s.

Next steps

Lots of interesting things can be learned by diving further into this kind of data. At some point I might need a “demographics” category for my blog. As usual, the code is available on GitHub for anyone that wants to refine this.

Update (elder ferry)

I can’t believe I missed the “elder ferry” effect in Victoria. Here is Nathan to add in this interesting observation.

It’a worh pointing out that the net domestic in-migration of older people is inter-provincial, so people from outside of British Columbia moving to Victoria.

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