New forecast places Woodstock and London areas among the fastest growing regions in southwestern Ontario

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COVID-19 has shone on Ontario’s population growth, but the Woodstock and London areas are expected to lead southwestern Ontario’s growth once the pandemic subsides, according to a new report.

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COVID-19 has shone on Ontario’s population growth, but the Woodstock and London areas are expected to lead southwestern Ontario’s growth once the pandemic subsides, according to a new report.

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Ontario Ministry of Finance forecasts predict the province’s population will grow by almost 36% over the next 25 years, to over 20 million by July 2046, from 14.7 million per year. latest.

Southwestern Ontario, which until the mid-1980s had 14 percent of the province’s population, is expected to grow to 2.22 million people, from 1.72 million during the same period. but its share of the provincial population will drop to 11.1 percent. as faster growing regions, particularly the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), will add millions more over the next quarter century.

The GTA is expected to reach 10 million people, or nearly half of Ontario’s population, by 2046, up from just over 7.1 million last year, according to ministry projections.

The areas of Woodstock and London – the counties of Oxford and Middlesex – are expected to lead the way in southwestern Ontario, with the fastest growing rates in the region – 41.5% and 37, 5%, respectively – over the 25-year horizon of the report.

Justin Falconer, executive director of Workforce WindsorEssex, said he was not surprised that the wave of migration from the Greater Toronto Area has reached Middlesex and Oxford counties.

Falconer noted that Oxford County is benefiting from migration from the GTA and young families from London in search of affordable housing.

“People are looking for housing and they need to drive further, especially those in their 30s with children under the age of four,” Falconer said.

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“Oxford has green spaces and can be selective in development. If you’re trying to get out of the GTA and find a respite from house prices and commuting, this area is ideal.

Conversely, Chatham-Kent and the Sarnia-Lambton County region are expected to experience the slowest growth, with population growth of just 4.8% and 7.7%, respectively, over the same period.

Ontario is heavily dependent on immigration from overseas and on migration from elsewhere in Canada for its population growth, but the COVID-19 pandemic has brought it to a significant halt, with a population growth rate of 1. 3% of the province in 2019-2020 falling to 0.6% in 2020-2021 but is expected to rebound in the coming year to 2.1%, according to the report.

The ministry produces population forecasts based on high, medium and low growth scenarios, with the average considered most likely given recent trends. Under this scenario, the province’s population is expected to grow by 35.8 percent by 2046 and that of southwestern Ontario by 29.2 percent.

with files from the Windsor Star


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