While most smaller centres in Nova Scotia have experienced economic and population declines in the last 30 years, Bridgewater is one of the few that has been able to attract new residents. The town's population increased from 6,619 in 1986 to 8,241 in 2011. It was the second fastest growing location in Nova Scotia greater than 5,000 people between the period 2006 and 2011. The official website of the town shows that at least 600 new residential units have been approved since 2007 (including senior residences); in comparison, the town counted 3,735 residential units in 2006 and 3,465 in 2001. Historically, Bridgewater is one of the only locations in Nova Scotia outside of Halifax County that showed consistent population growth over the span of the 20th century. While the population of many Nova Scotian centres are actually lower now than they were in 1951 (including Sydney, New Glasgow, Amherst and Yarmouth, among others), Bridgewater has almost doubled its population during that time. There was a strong boom in population between 1961 and 1981 in particular, this reflecting the arrival of Michelin and the large number of jobs it brought.
Most of this growth, however, is coming at the older end of the age spectrum, which has been caused by a general aging trend in the province, and an increasingly number of retirement and nursing homes in the town. According to the 1996, 2006, and 2011 censuses, every age group from 0 to 39 has consistently seen their portion of the town population shrink, while there has been consistent growth in every age group over 50.
As of 2006, 3.9% of town residents classified themselves as immigrants, most having immigrated before 1991. 1.4% of the population listed French as their mother tongue, while 6.3% considered themselves bilingual. 2.3% listed another language as their mother tongue. 53.3% of the population was female, a figure nearly two percent higher than the province as a whole.
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