Halifax Index 2019 reports third straight year of strong population growth

Posted: June 17, 2019

Today, the Halifax Partnership released the Halifax Index 2019, the city’s annual report on economic and community progress.

Halifax had an excellent year for immigration and youth retention, maintaining its third straight year of strong population growth; 2018 saw the arrival of 5,405 new immigrants and 2,503 new residents ages 20 to 29.

“The results are very encouraging and consistent with the outcome that we hoped for and acted upon – getting more immigrants and youth here, and staying here,” says Ian Munro, Chef Economist at the Halifax Partnership.

The Index includes a progress report on the Halifax’s Economic Growth Plan 2016-21. The report shows that most of the Economic Growth Plan measurements have improved since 2018, including average annual income, total number of jobs, and Halifax’s overall population growth.

“While past results do not guarantee future performance, a few key shifts can establish a strong foundation for the long term,” add Munro. “Today’s growth creates tomorrow’s confidence and that leads to future investment, which spurs continued growth, in turn forming a virtuous cycle.”

Halifax Index 2019 Key Findings:

The Index tracks Halifax’s vital signs across three major themes: people, economy and quality of place. It includes an analysis on Rural Halifax and two special topic analyses on regulation and startup funding.


  • Halifax had its third straight year of strong population growth, a 2.0% increase (8,544 people) in population in 2018. Over the past three years, Halifax’s population has grown by more than 22,000 people.
  • For the third year in a row, international immigration was far above the long-term average with 5,405 new immigrants coming to Halifax in 2018.
  • There were 2,503 new arrivals to Halifax between the ages of 20 and 29 representing nearly one third of the total population growth.
  • Halifax saw its labour force participation increase for the first time since 2009. As well, after three years of annual labour force growth below 1.0%, 2018 saw an increase of 8,000 workers, a 3.3% jump.


  • Halifax’s GDP grew by 1.6% in 2018. Among our six benchmark cities. Halifax ranked fourth in terms of 2018 GDP growth, behind Quebec City, Victoria, and Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo (KCW), but ahead of Regina and St. John’s.
  • According to the Business Confidence Index conducted annually by Narrative Research, the shares of surveyed businesses expecting to increase sales, hire additional staff, make a major investment in facilities or equipment, and make a major investment in research and development remain significantly above long-term averages.
  • Halifax surpassed its record for cruise ship visits and total number of cruise passengers for the second year in a row in 2018, making it the most successful conference year in the city’s history.
  • Total overnight room bookings grew by 14%, marking six straight years of growth in room bookings.


  • Construction on residential rental units reached a historic high in 2018, yet vacancy rates are still going down.
  • In 2018, Halifax’s average apartment rent grew by 2.1%, the third highest increase among the benchmark cities, but still below the Canadian average of 3.4%.
  • As of spring 2019, Halifax Transit charged the least (or tied for the least) for single tickets, monthly passes, senior fares, and child fares for all six benchmark cities.
  • Over the past decade, Halifax has experienced only 10 days of Air Quality Advisories, the second lowest figure among the six benchmark cities.

To download the complete Halifax Index 2019, visit our Halifax Index page.

For more information please contact:

Brittany Warren

Communications Specialist

Halifax Partnership

[email protected]



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