The Northwest Territories is the only jurisdiction in Canada whose population has been declining for the past 10 years. New Brunswick joined us in that club for a few years here and there, but we're the only jurisdiction that sees its population decline. It's not by much. At most it's maybe 400 or 500 a year. It is very concerning to us because it affects our funding. A large part of our formula financing is based on population, so we've been looking at ways to increase our population.
When we look at our small and remote communities, we have 50% or 60% unemployment, and when you look around Yellowknife, anybody who wants a job can get a job. There is probably 100% employment, but the skills don't match up. We still fly in and fly out probably anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 workers every year to work at the diamond mines. We haven't been able to resolve that. People who fly in leave. If you live in the north and work in the diamond mine, there's a $25,000 yearly northern allowance, and people who fly in are forgoing that. They would rather live in the south and forgo that.
We have looked at a lot of different ways. We have the best student financial assistance program in Canada. We want our students to come back. A lot of them come back for two or three years until their student loans are paid off and they get experience. The north has a lot of good jobs where young people can get a lot of experience. They get very marketable skills and they're snapped up. After they work for three or four years in the north, they can get a very good job in the south. We have what we call the two-and-four phenomenon as well. We have young professionals who come north by themselves, find a partner, and have kids. Then they realize grandma and grandpa are a long way away and they move, so then you have four people who move south.
I guess, to make a long story short, we think the best way to increase our population is by immigration. We have a quota, and our immigration is increasing every year. We've been to China quite a few times. We think the Chinese are very interested in immigrating, but it takes a long time to process their papers. Those are the kinds of things we're looking at.