Halifax Index 2024


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Economic Strategy Scorecard

Together with the Halifax Regional Municipality, the Partnership leads People. Planet. Prosperity. Halifax’s Inclusive Economic Strategy 2022-27 which has four long-term targets.

Over the coming years, this strategy will guide us toward a prosperous and growing Halifax that puts the well-being of people and planet first. More than ever, a focus has been placed not just on the economy but on measures of well-being, affordability, and environmental impact.

As part of the Halifax Index, presented by TD, the Halifax Partnership publishes an annual scorecard on our broader progress towards these longer-term objectives. Detailed below, you will find a track record of the economic and social progress we have made. In the scorecard, you can also find links to relevant sections of the Index that explore these topics in greater detail.

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Halifax Index 2024

Grow GDP

One of the goals of the Economic Strategy is to attain a gross domestic product (GDP) of $25 billion (measured in real 2007 dollars) by 2027. In 2023, Halifax had a GDP of $21.8 billion representing growth of 1.4% over 2022. An annual average growth rate of 3.5% from 2024 onward will be required to reach the 2027 goal.

While 2023 did not see the previous year’s spike in inflation nor rising interest rates, rates remain high and business confidence has continued to fall, reaching its lowest level since 2015. Consumer confidence saw some recovery in early 2023 but ended the year near its historic low.

Again in 2023, growth in wages was unable to keep pace with inflation. Purchasing power for Halifax residents dropped 1.7% in 2023 following a 3.6% decline in 2022. As new poverty data were released for 2022, the full impact of that decline in purchasing power became visible. The poverty rate in Halifax jumped dramatically from 8.2% in 2021 to 13.6% in 2022.

Looking at revised estimates, Halifax emitted 5.23 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (MtCO2e) in 2022. This is 4.6% less than in 2021 though still above the target established in the municipality’s climate action plan, HalifACT. An average annual drop of 15.2% is needed to reach the goal of 1.4 MtCO2e by 2030.

Grow Population

In 2023, Halifax took a significant step towards its goal of reaching a population of 525,000 by 2027. The city added 19,237 new residents in 2023, a growth rate of 4.1%, to reach a population of 492,199. An annual average growth rate of only 1.6% is needed to reach the 2027 goal.

Halifax attracted migrants from across Canada and around the world. Those coming from other provinces declined in 2023, dropping from 5,202 in 2022 to 3,338 in 2023. However, more than 16,000 residents from other countries came to Halifax in 2023. International student enrolment declined by 0.7% in 2023 to 7,296.

New data released from Statistics Canada showed an increasing contingent of Halifax’s newcomers were non-permanent residents. Halifax added 6,307 net non-permanent residents in 2023, up dramatically from the 497 added in 2022. This influx of newcomers has helped stabilize demographic challenges with the median age decreasing from 39.4 years in 2022 to 39.0 in 2023.

Grow Labour Force

Another goal in the Economic Strategy is to grow the labour force to 310,000 by 2027. Halifax saw its labour force grow by an impressive 5.0% in 2023 to 278,900. This means that an average annual growth rate of 2.7% is now required to reach the goal by 2027.

The participation rate rebounded in 2023 rising to 68.0% in 2023 after having fallen to 67.5% in 2022. The participation rate for those ages 25 - 44 remained high at 90.1%. Employment saw another year of stellar growth increasing by 4.4% in 2023 as 263,600 people were employed. This followed 4.8% employment growth in 2022 and 5.4% employment growth in 2021. The labour market tightness experienced in 2022 has abated somewhat as Halifax's job vacancy rate declined to 4.1% in 2023.

The scorecard also includes performance metrics for sixth graders, the labour force of the future. In 2023, the share of Halifax students performing at or above expectation improved for writing (+3 pp) and remained unchanged in mathematics (+0 pp). It declined for reading (-2 pp). In total, 27%, 40%, and 31% of students were performing below expectations for reading, writing, and mathematics, respectively.

Improve Well-Being

Inclusive prosperity is top of mind for the 2022-27 Economic Strategy and well-being is one of the metrics tracked. This is assessed through a question about life satisfaction in the Halifax Partnership’s City Matters Survey, carried out by MQO Research.

The well-being measure focuses on those who perhaps are not fully enjoying the city’s broader progress and success. The precise metric is the share of survey respondents who rated their life satisfaction as “low” with a score of four or less on a scale of 0 - 10. The benchmark score obtained from the spring 2022 survey was 14.4%. Unsurprisingly, in 2024 this share rose (worsened) to 22.1%. However, 58.3% of the population gave either a “high” (7 - 8) or “very high” (9 - 10) life-satisfaction rating. The mean well-being score decreased from 7.6 in 2023 to 6.5 in 2024.

Perhaps the most salient factor affecting quality of life has been home prices and rents. Halifax has grappled with ongoing issues related to the rising cost of housing in 2023. According to RBC’s Housing Affordability Measures, in 2023, 45.3% of income was needed to cover home-ownership costs in Halifax, inching above the previous record of 45.1% in 2022. The share of income spent on rent increased to 34.7% in 2023 from 31.3% in 2022.

Tourism is a key economic driver for Halifax, and tourism statistics provide a means of assessing the city’s appeal from a non-resident perspective. Overnight visitor-stays in Halifax increased by 5.4% in 2023 to reach 1.87 million. This is roughly equal to the pre-pandemic figure of 1.88 million visitor-stays in 2019.

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