The city of Kingston has hired a consulting firm to conduct a study that will forecast population trends through the year 2046.
This data will be used to help guide the city’s long-term plans for land use, transportation, infrastructure, and capital spending.
City staff have laid out a number of objectives for study including, forecasting changes in institutional and non-institutional population, the natural population growth, net migration rate and estimating the housing required to accommodate the forecasted population.
They also hope to evaluate the factors responsible for discrepancies found in their last study.
A 2013 study forecasted a population of 129,870 for Kingston for 2016 but Statistics Canada data showed the population in 2016 was 123,798, more than 6,000 less than what was predicted.
While in the previous study, the city had forecasted 123,410 for the population of Kingston in 2011 and Statistics Canada has 123,363 listed for 2011.
Kingston’s manager of policy planning, Greg Newman, says there are a number of possible factors for the 2013 findings being so far off. Forecast consultants usually add an additional three per cent to their figures to account for people that might have been missed.
Newman also said that “the consultant who did the 2013 forecast was informed by the 2011 census released by Stats Canada.” He also said “there are different sets of data that collectively call into question the reliability of the 2011 census data released by Stats Canada”.
Kingston mayor, Bryan Paterson, says the makeup of the population also presents challenges.
“One of the things that’s always come up with the census data is that students are not counted. Sometimes there are significant portions of the population in Kingston that sometimes can end up in one study but not in another,” says Paterson.
The study results will be brought to the planning committee on March 21 before being presented to council in early April.