Why is this measurement important?
Population growth or decline affects housing demand, labour markets, consumer spending levels and the need for public services such as hospitals and schools. Population growth is an indicator of economic vitality – i.e. jobs are being created and/or that it is a desirable place to live. Population growth in Chatham-Kent is an important factor in creating an attractive community.
A vibrant community is reflected in civic engagement, diversity, and opportunities for people to connect through culture, arts, recreation and community activity, including volunteering.
Population growth assists in economic stability by diversifying and increasing the skillset of the workforce, encouraging entrepreneurship and supporting the promotion of Chatham-Kent as an investment destination of choice.
Reviewing the contribution of natural balance (births minus deaths), changes in age cohorts, and the contribution of migration (both international and within Canada) identifies the most significant drivers of population change and assists policy or program development to focus on either counteracting negative trends or accelerating positive ones. Local initiatives can have an impact on attracting and retaining residents, including young people, immigrants and active retirees.
Monitoring population growth allows better decisions about providing services and amenities and support planning, administration, policy development, and to evaluate its performance. Managing our growth for societal and economic success is a priority.
How is this measured?
Total number of people living in Chatham-Kent.
The population from 2001-2016 is based on Statistics Canada Census data that is gathered every five years and includes undercounts. The undercount refers to the number of Canadian residents not recorded in the Statistics Canada census. In each census, some residents are missed and some are counted more than once. Statistics Canada adjusts official population estimates to include net under coverage estimates (persons missed minus persons counted more than once).
What progress are we making?
Over the past four years, we have introduced approximately 333 kilometres of bike lanes, multi-use paths, recreational trails and signed bike routes to the active transportation network. The active transportation goal is 20% active mode by 2025 – 8% by bike and 12% by foot.
The Municipality of Chatham-Kent has developed a Trails Master Plan. The plan builds upon past and current trail development efforts, and is a framework to guide the development and operation of trails in the municipality in the short, medium and long term. It defines a strategy for developing a municipal-wide trail network. It identifies trail network priorities; identifies potential partners; makes recommendations regarding trail design, signage and construction; outlines policies to support the implementation of the plan; and estimates the cost of the plan over 20 years.
This appears to be a very narrow (but worthwhile) focus in terms of what the municipality is doing to attract residents.