I am re-publishing this valuable article created by Metrolis IQ. All rights (and credit) for this article belong to them.
UPDATE: On Monday, June 17 Amendment #2 to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe was officially adopted by the Province of Ontario. This amendment includes updated projections for population and employment across the Greater Golden Horseshoe and extends the projection period from 2031 to 2041.
With an estimated population of 6.3 million people, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is the largest urban area in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The GTA continues to experience rapid growth with the region adding nearly 100,000 new residents each year. This growth is expected to continue over the coming decades with the GTA becoming home to nearly 9.4 million people by 2041.
While Official Plans were previously created by individual regions and municipalities to guide development within these jurisdictions, the Government of Ontario released the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe to provide an overarching framework for implementing the Province’s vision for “building strong, prosperous communities by better managing growth in the region to 2031”.
MAP 1: GREATER GOLDEN HORSESHOE
The first version of the Growth Plan was released in 2006 and included a Growth Outlook for the Greater Golden Horseshoe to 2031. This Outlook, which was based in large part on the 2001 Census, was completed in 2005. Now seven years, two Censuses and numerous economic and demographic changes later, the Province of Ontario (Ministry of Infrastructure) has adopted the aforementioned Amendment #2 to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe which provides population and employment projections to the year 2041.
METHODOLOGY & ASSUMPTIONS
The projections were completed by Hemson Consulting, the same consultant that created the original Growth Outlook. In preparing their report Hemson used standard demographic “cohort component” methodology. The methodology used in the 2005 and 2012 Outlooks are consistent, however certain assumptions have been updated to better reflect changes that have occurred over the past seven years.
While we do not examine the methodology in detail the following are some of the general assumptions that have been incorporated into the 2012 forecast:
- Immigration continues to drive overall growth
- Long-term economic growth remains positive (an average GDP growth rate of 2.6% is used)
- Manufacturing still an important part of the economy, but will continue to decline
- Fertility rates are increasing
- Life expectancy will continue to rise
- The average age in the GTA will not rise as quickly as in other area
- Household growth will be slower than previously expected
NOTE: Population and employment projections shown below are for the Greater Toronto Area only. All other parts of the Greater Golden Horseshoe are not shown on this summary.
INCREASED GROWTH PROJECTIONS
The updated projections contained in Amendment #2 show the Greater Toronto Area being home to 8.33 million people and 4.07 million jobs by 2031, approximately 380,000 more people and 50,000 more jobs than was projected in the original Growth Plan. These changes are reflective of the fact that additional data (two Census’, etc) was available allowing Hemson Consulting to refine their projection models.
FIGURE: DIFFERENCE IN POPULATION AND EMPLOYMENT PROJECTIONS FOR 2031
Population by 2041
By the year 2041, the Greater Toronto Area is projected to be home to roughly 9,368,000, an increase of 3,070,000 from 2011.
FIGURE 1: GTA POPULATION PROJECTIONS
To put this in perspective the here is a list of projected populations for Canada’s six largest urban areas in 2041:
Within the GTA the City of Toronto will remain the largest municipality with 3.4 million residents. Toronto will be followed by Peel Region at 2.0 million, York Region at 1.8 million, Durham Region at 1.2 million and Halton Region at 1.0 million.
Over the next 30 years, close to 3.1 million new residents will call the GTA home, an increase of 48.5% from 2011. York Region will see the largest increase in population, growing by 716,000 residents (+66.8%), second is the City of Toronto at an increase of 675,000 residents (+24.8%), followed by Peel Region at 618,000 (+45.8%), Durham Region at 559,000 (+88.6%) and Halton Region at 484,000 (+93.1%).
FIGURE 2: GTA POPULATION GROWTH BY REGION
100,000 per Year
While growth is expected to average about 100,000 people per year, annual increases are projected to fluctuate with the GTA adding an average of 97,400 residents per year between 2011-2016, 98,800 residents per year between 2016-2021, 108,000 residents per year between 2026-2031, 106,000 residents per year between 2031-2036 and 98,200 residents per year from 2036-2041.
FIGURE 3: AVERAGE ANNUAL GTA POPULATION GROWTH
Toronto’s Declining Share
While all parts of the GTA are expected to experience strong growth, 78% of this increase is expected to occur in the suburban “905” Regions of Peel, York, Durham and Halton with the remaining 22% of growth occurring in the City of Toronto. This distribution of growth will lead to the City of Toronto’s share of the total GTA population declining from 43.3% in 2011 to 36.3% in 2041. Peel Region will also see a slight decline in its share of population growth decreasing from 21.4% in 2011 to 21.1% in 2041. The remaining three regions will each see increases in the share of population with York Region increasing from 17.0% in 2011 to 19.1% in 2041, Durham Region from 10.0% in 2011 to 12.7% in 2041 and Halton Region from 8.3% in 2011 to 10.8% in 2041.
FIGURE 4: GTA POPULATION SHARE BY REGION – 2011
FIGURE 5: GTA POPULATION SHARE BY REGION – 2041
Beyond the GTA
Substantial growth is not only projected to occur in the Greater Toronto Area, but also the surrounding areas of the Greater Golden Horseshoe as well. The Greater Golden Horseshoe, which includes the GTA as well as the City of Hamilton, Waterloo Region, Niagara Region, City of Barrie, City of Guelph and several other regions and municipalities, is expected to be home to nearly 13.5 million residents by 2041 an increase of close to 4.5 million people.
NOTE: As the entire region continues to grow we can expect further integration to a occur and at some point we will likely start referring to our region as the Greater Golden Horseshoe as opposed to the Greater Toronto Area.
Ministry of Finance Population Projections
In addition to the projections calculated by the Ministry of Infrastructure (via Hemson Consulting) for the Growth Outlook, the Ontario Ministry of Finance has also completed an update to its Ontario Population Projections which the Ministry uses for economic planning purposes. According to these estimates the GTA is expected to be home to nearly 9.2 million people by 2036 which is about 280,000 more than the Ministry of Infrastructure’s Growth Outlook. Why the difference? While most of the methodology used to create the Ministry of Finance report was used in the creation of the update Growth Outlook, several items including the fertility rate, are slightly different in the Ministry of Finance projections which when projected out over 30 years can lead to differences.
The GTA economy is also expected to grow significantly over the next 30 years. While there will be traditional economic expansions and contractions an average GDP growth rate of 2.6% is projected to 2041. Given this economic growth and the aforementioned population projections the GTA is expected to be home to approximately 1.2 million new jobs by 2041, an increase of 27.9%.
By 2041, the City of Toronto is expected to be home to total employment of over 1.7 million followed by Peel Region at nearly 1 million jobs, York Region at over 900,000 jobs, Halton Region at close to 500,000 jobs and Durham Region at over 400,000 jobs.
FIGURE 6: GTA EMPLOYMENT PROJECTIONS
York Region is expected to see the biggest growth in employment adding 358,000 jobs (+39.9%), followed by Peel Region at 283,000 jobs (+29.3%), Halton Region at 212,000 jobs (+45.4%), the City of Toronto at 200,000 jobs (+11.7%) and Durham Region at 186,000 jobs (+43.7%).
FIGURE 7: GTA EMPLOYMENT GROWTH BY REGION
Job Creation Will Decline
Growth in employment is expected to slow over the coming decades due to a slowdown in the growth of the working age population. This essentially means the increase in the number of working age people in the GTA will not rise as quickly as the population of those who do not or cannot work (i.e. children and the elderly). Employment is projected to grow at an average rate of over 50,000 jobs per year between 2011 and 2021, fall to 32,400 jobs per year from 2021 to 2026 and gradually increase back towards 44,000 between 2036 to 2041. This slowdown is between 2021 and 2031 can be largely attributed to the continued rapid growth in the GTA’s senior population and will likely mean that starting in 2026, less than half of the total GTA population will be employed.
FIGURE 8: PERCENTAGE OF GTA POPULATION EMPLOYED
Toronto’s Declining Share
Much like the population growth, most employment growth is expected to occur in the suburban “905” Regions of Peel, York, Halton and Durham with the 905 accommodating 84% of all employment growth compared to 16% in Toronto. This distribution of employment growth will see the City of Toronto’s share of total GTA employment decrease from 46.9% in 2011 to 38.3% in 2041. All other regions will see their share of employment grow with Peel Region increasing from 21.1% in 2011 to 21.6% in 2016, York Region increasing from 16.7% to 20.1%, Halton Region increasing from 7.9% in 2011 to 10.4% in 2041 and Durham Region increasing from 7.4% in 2011 to 9.6% in 2041.
NOTE: The employment forecasts were tabulated by applying assumptions for labour force participation rates, unemployment rates, and net in-commuting to the population forecast.
FIGURE 9: GTA EMPLOYMENT SHARE BY REGION – 2011
FIGURE 10: GTA EMPLOYMENT SHARE BY REGION – 2041
The Growth Outlook also includes projections for the number of households that will be required to accommodate the nearly 9.4 million people expected to be living in the GTA by 2041. Based on average household size and formation rates, estimates put the number of housing units required at 3.3 million.
The City of Toronto is expected to be home to 1.3 million units followed by Peel Region at nearly 600,000, York Region at 560,000, Durham Region at 415,000 and Halton Region at 361,000.
FIGURE 11: GTA HOUSEHOLD PROJECTIONS
Over the next 30 years, just over 1.1 million new residential units are expected to be built across the GTA, an increase of 33.8% from the number of units in 2011. The City of Toronto is projected to see the biggest growth in the number of households, adding 293,310 units (+21.9%) by 2041 followed by York Region at 235,720 units (+42.2%), Durham Region at 200,440 units (+48.4%), Peel Region at 194,930 units (+32.6%) and Halton Region at 180,100 units (+50.2%).
FIGURE 12: GTA HOUSEHOLD GROWTH
Increasing Density…more Condos and Townhouses
Not unlike what has been occurring over the past 5-10 years, planning policy, economics and demographic trends will help push the continued increase in density of real estate development with the number of households living in medium and high density units rising faster than the number of households living in low density units. By 2041 the share of households living in apartments expected to rise to 40.6% and share of households living in townhouses is expected to increase to 11.6%. As the proportion of medium and high density units increases the share of households living in single detached units will fall to 41.2% and the share of households living in semi-detached units will drop to 6.7%.
NOTE: The housing mix information presented here is for the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton (GTAH).
FIGURE 13: GTAH HOUSING MIX – 2011
FIGURE 14: GTAH HOUSING MIX – 2041
DATA SOURCES: Hemson Consulting, Ontario Ministry of Finance, Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure and MetropolisIQ Urban Data Ltd.