Nova Scotia GDP Per Capita Slipped All The Way Back To 2016

Canada’s favorite Maritime province has been a big winner when it comes to real estate. It’s economy? Not so much. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data shows real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita made a sharp downturn in 2023. The province’s shock was so large, it returned the quality of life measure back to 2016-levels. Ouch.  

What Is Real GDP Per Capita?

Real GDP is a region’s output—the total value of goods and services produced, adjusted for inflation. The faster it rises, the more goods and services are being produced and consumed. That’s generally a sign of a healthy society, since more people working and spending means capital is flowing. 

There’s a big issue with this measure though—it doesn’t adjust for population. That results in some economies appearing to be fast growing, but it just added more economic units. Those workers are doing worse, but there’s more of them to make up for it. If one wants to know how well a government’s tax revenues are growing, they can look at GDP. If one is curious how its population is doing, they would look for a per capita adjustment.  

Nova Scotia’s Population Is Booming, But It’s Economy Isn’t 

Nova Scotia has recently seen its population grow at one of the fastest rates ever. Stat Can estimates it grew a whopping 2.8% to 1.07 million people in 2023. It’s a relatively small population, but adding 30k people in a year is still no easy task.  

Nova Scotia’s economy wasn’t so lucky. Real GDP advanced 1.3% in 2023, less than half the rate of its population. On a per capita basis, this represents a decline of 1.4% last year. That places real GDP per capita in the region at the lowest level since 2020. If we’re ignoring 2020 since artificial restrictions on trade fail to represent reality, it’s a similar level to 2016. 

Nova Scotia Real GDP Per Capita Rolled Back To 2016 Levels

Nova Scotia real GDP per capita in 2017 Canadian dollars.

Source: Statistics Canada; Better Dwelling.

Considering real GDP per capita peaked in 2019, it doesn’t appear that quality of life improvements have recovered since the pandemic. In fact, such a sharp decline was enough to put the province years behind.  

That means good and bad news. The good news is Nova Scotia isn’t alone, this trend is prevalent across Canada. Ontario saw its measure rollback as well, albeit only to 2021-levels, not close to a decade.

The bad news is no one wants to be like Canada in this regard. The OECD estimates the country will see the lowest real GDP per capita growth of any advanced economy for the next 4 decades, assuming a position that Greece held in the 2000s.  

8 Comments

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  • Reply
    Jamie Price 2 days ago

    Wouldn’t know that in Nova Scotia. Everyone is pulling their HELOC debt and buying a hot tub because everyone is about to move here and bid up their barn that couldn’t be given away in 2019.

    • Reply
      Sam Chao 2 days ago

      No kidding. The worst thing to happen to Canada was Nova Scotia sending that rube that caused the immigration & housing crisis.

      No surprise he’s also in charge of the infrastructure bank. Let the sale of the human chattel to globalists begin!

  • Reply
    Trader Jim 2 days ago

    The declining GDP per capita100% explains why everyone is this country thinks they’re getting rich but has no clue why they also feel like things are harder now.

  • Reply
    Mortgage Guy 2 days ago

    Most of the people I’ve met moving from Ontario to Nova Scotia are doing so to retire. Their housing wealth is locked up, and homes are too expensive.

    That’s not great news for Nova Scotia, since deep pocketed retirees are moving to use the retirement resources in the province, are bidding up housing, and are post their prime tax years. ON got the boom, and NS got the bill.

    • Reply
      Sam Chao 2 days ago

      So what you’re saying is the immigration minister-turned-housing minister royally screwed Nova Scotia, that was developing its own robust economy before he put the country into a tailspin?

  • Reply
    Sardine 2 days ago

    The GDP Per Capita of a third world country, yet demanding Manhattan rent prices.

  • Reply
    History repeats itself 2 days ago

    The 2026 mortgage disaster is coming it will probably the bottoming out point of the housing bubble Don,t know for sure but it looks like 4 to 6 years for a recovery. Similar to the 70,s and the 90,s real estate down turns

  • Reply
    Glen Campbell 2 days ago

    It took the country 20 years to recover from Trudeau 1, and he took over with low debt. Trudeau 2 is worse by a multiple of ten. He has graced us with more debt than all prior governments combined and instituted policies to ensure the debt will continue to grow while GDP continues to decline, services will diminish as to become worthless. The numbers, as bad as they are, are even worse than they appear due to the rapid increase in population where many are unhoused and without proper medical access. Our slide is just starting, buckle up, we’re in for a rapid downhill ride.

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