Halifax Population 2017
The urban center around Halifax Harbour has a population of 297,000 with a density of 1,077 people per square kilometer (2,790/square mile). Halifax is the 14th largest municipality in Canada and the 13th largest metropolitan area.
According to the 2011 census, the ethnic origins of Halifax include: Canadian (38%), English (34%), Scottish (30%), Irish (25%), French (18%), German (12%), Dutch (4%), North American Indian (3%), and Welsh (2%). Respondents were able to choose more than one option. The city also has between 1,000 and 7,000 people with Italian, Polish, Lebanese, Chinese, African, East Indian, American, Norwegian, Spanish, Jewish, and Greek ethnicities, among others.
85% of the population is Christian, followed by 13% who have no religious affiliation. Less than 1% of the population is Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, or Sikh.
The Halifax Peninsula was the site of the first permanent European settlement in the area with the Town of Halifax established in 1749. The town was named for the British Earl of Halifax. Father Le Loutre's War began that same year when Edward Cornwallis came to establish the settlement with 13 transports and a sloop. Establishing the town meant the British were violating a 1729 treaty with the Mi'kmaq. Several British fortifications were set up to guard the town against attacks from the French, Acadians, and Mi'kmaq.
In 1917, "the Narrows" between Bedford Basin and the upper Halifax Harbour was the site of one of Canada's greatest disasters. While carrying munitions, the SS Mont-Blanc collided with another vessel. The Halifax Explosion killed 2,000 people and injured about 9,000 more. This was the largest artificial explosion prior to the development of nuclear weapons.
In 1996, Halifax and four municipalities in the area were amalgamated to create the Halifax Regional Municipality, which now includes the entire Halifax County aside from First Nation reserves.
Halifax Population Growth
The city's population growth has fallen below the national average for the last 5 years during the economic recession. The metropolitan region of Halifax grew just 4.7% in 2011 from the previous census in 2006 while the national growth rate was 5.9%. Eastern Canada was hit much harder by the recession than western provinces.
According to a new study, outmigration is the cause for Halifax's weak growth. The city has been challenged to hold on to new graduates while attracting immigrants to the region.