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Forecasting Growth: The Turning Point

October 7, 2013

Further to the anaylses from the Sightline Institute – especially this one - here”s an observation from a local transportation consultant:

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Are we at a turning point when it comes to ever-increasing growth forecasts?  When will we begin to start taking personal preference changes and demographics into our transportation-industry growth forecasts?

One way would be to take seriously the “inverse dependency ratio”: the number of working-age population supporting non-working population. It’s effectively a measure of how many folks are generally contributing to the tax base (income and sales taxes primarily) versus the number who are generally more reliant on government for support (particularly health care).

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Ratio

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In BC and Metro Vancouver, that ratio reached a turning point in 2011, suggesting that from this point forward a smaller and smaller percentage of workers will be supporting an ever larger population of children and, particularly, retirees. It speaks to some interesting budget and revenue generation challenges that governments across North America may soon encounter.

More interestingly, the general range of turning points (~2002-2011) coincides reasonably well with when traffic and fuel revenue forecasts started to miss their mark across the Pacific Northwest – many before the onset of the recession.

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More here in The Globe: Retirees set to outnumber Canada’s youth for the first time

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