By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday May 5, 2017
Canada now has more seniors than children, census reveals
For the first time in history, the percentage of seniors in the population (16.9 per cent) now exceeds the share of children (16.6 per cent), new census data reveals.
The increase in the proportion of seniors between 2011 and 2016—up from 14.8 per cent – is the largest since 1871, Statistics Canada said Wednesday as it took the wraps off the latest information gleaned from the 2016 census.
“This gap will continue to increase in the future, so basically we can say that there is no coming back. It’s long-lasting change,” said Laurent Martel, director of the demography division at Statistics Canada.
The statistics agency cites two factors for the changing demographics. The baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1965 – are getting older. As well, increasing life expectancy combined with low fertility rates since the 1970s means seniors are an increasing proportion of Canada’s population.
Martel notes that other baby boomers are approaching retirement – the proportion of people between 55 and 64 reached a record high of 21 per cent in 2016 – meaning that an aging population will be the story of Canada’s population for decades to come.
“We know that other cohorts of boomers will follow in the coming years, meaning that population aging will remain fairly fast until 2031, when the last boomers will reach 65,” Martel said in an interview.
By 2061, these patterns will mean there could mean that Canada has 12 million seniors and fewer than 8 million children.
Still, Canada is the young kid on the block – Canada had a lower proportion of seniors than any other G7 country except the United States.
And the share of people aged 15 to 64 – 23.4 million Canadians, about 66.5 per cent of the total population, down from 68.5 per cent in 2011 – was also higher in Canada than in other countries. That means Canada still has a large working-age population, even though the growth rate in this age bracket between 2011 and 2016 is the lowest recorded between two censuses since 1851. (Toronto Star)
Adapted from a cartoon originally drawn August 20, 2013.