Freddy Beach all growed up and now sitting at the big kids table

I meant to write about this before but it slipped my mind. For those of you that do not know, Fredericton is becoming a CMA (Census Metropolitan Area) as of the 2021 Census. This is kind of a big deal on a number of fronts but the biggest reason is that Fredericton is now in the ranks of the largest urban centres in Canada. Freddy Beach is not alone, Red Deer, (Alta.), Kamloops, (B.C.), Chilliwack, (B.C.), and Nanaimo, (B.C.) are all becoming CMAs. This is the dividend of growth. To graduate into a CMA you need 50,000 in the main population centre and at least 100,000 in the overall CA area.

The other interesting change is that Quispamsis – Rothesay, (N.B.) has become a secondary core population. A secondary core is a population centre with a population of at least 10,000 that is located outside the municipality of the primary core but within the CMA or CA. The primary core is centered in Saint John (city) but this new population centre shows how a growing share of the population in the Saint John CMA is clustering outside the main population centre. Stats. Can counts nearly 25,000 in this secondary core population.

I still remember the fights we had to get Moncton – CMA status. I was arming Senator Robertson in the Senate and recall watching the head of the senate telling Senator Robertson that “Moncton seems to be doing fine without being a CMA”. Back then the standard was 100,000 in the urban core and the Moncton population centre was just below 100,000. Now it is well above 100,000 – when the Census comes out next year I expect there to be at least 115,000 in the Moncton population centre (and 160,000 in the CMA total). Fredericton will have likely 65,000 or so in its population centre when the Census data comes out, well above the 50,000 threshold. I expect the new Fredericton CMA will have a population somewhere around 115,000.

Saint John’s CMA population should exceed 134,000 or so from the Census. I suspect it’s population centre will only be around 60,000 or 61,000. I know you keeners will remark that Saint John has been a CMA for decades so how can it have a population centre of only 60,000 (instead of the previous standard of 100,000). As I recall Saint John was grandfathered in as the only CMA in New Brunswick many decades ago.

Cape Breton is an interesting case as it has nearly 100,000 in the overall CA area but only around 30,000 in its core population centre. It will need a push to get the Sydneyish population up to 50,000 within 20 years or so and then, presto, it will be the next CMA in Atlantic Canada.

Likely Charlottetown will go first. It has close to 50,000 in its urban core but only 80,000 in its CA area. It will need to add 20,000 to its CA population and a little more to its population centre. Maybe a decade from now? At current growth rates that is possible.