The land that would come to be the communities of Wabush and Labrador City is located within a rich trench of iron ore that was first explored by A.P. Low in 1896. In the 1930’s, ore deposits were more thoroughly examined and with the development of a railway from Knob Lake to Sept-Iles in the 1950’s a gateway to the trench for the mining industry was created. “It is our chance,” Smallwood said of Labrador’s resources, “to stand on our own feet, to do something ourselves.”

Labrador West has evolved into a thriving sub-artic region, home to fourth and some fifth generation mining families. The region has the best of both the modern and natural worlds. We live the mainstream modern life but, because of our geographic location, we are surrounded by amazing colour and splendor. And the great hospitality of our close-knit communities is second to none. There is almost too much to love about Labrador West.

Total population in 2012 (Statistics Canada) was 9,225. Labrador City accounts for a majority of the populations with 7,367 residents while the remaining 1,861 residents live in Wabush. The region has just over 2,900 families in private households with and average of two children at home per family.

And we are young! The median age is just 37 years old. The region does have an increasing senior’s population and large indigenous, francophone and Filipino population, making Labrador West a cluster of cultural diversity.


At one time, it was common for workers to leave the region upon retirement. Now, for the first time, more are choosing to stay and there is a population of seniors in the region. Those who grew up living in the area have chosen to stay but, due challenges like housing and healthcare, the older demographic is also the most migratory age group in Labrador West. The migration rates, when compared the provincial standards, clearly show an outmigration of seniors. This could be due to a lack of seniors’ housing or available services.


The population in Labrador West is becoming more cosmopolitan. At the start of the community, workers and families came from all over the world to build and operate the mines. Local hiring priorities provide residents of Labrador west with good employment opportunities, and this brings immigrants who want to build a life here. New immigration statistics are not represented in the 2011 statistics released by Statistics Canada but new cultural groups and populations are contributing to population growth.


There has been a slight increase in school enrollment and birth rates in the last few years, which is a positive sign for the longevity of the local population. Young families tend to move to the region for opportunity, career development and large salaries. As such, an increase in youth is the sign of a prosperous region. This is contrary to what is happening in the rest of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, which has an aging population overall.

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