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Canada's Population is getting Older

Canada's population continues to get older. As of July 1, 2009, the median age of Canada's population was ...


Canada's population continues to get older. As of July 1, 2009, the median age of Canada's population was ...39.5 years, up 0.2 years from the same date last year and up 3.1 years from 1999.

Fertility rates persistently below the generation replacement level, and an increasing life expectancy are the main factors explaining the ageing process of the Canadian population.

The most recent demographic projections indicate that the median age could reach 44.0 years during the 2030s.

As of July 1, 2009, Canada's youngest population was in Nunavut, where the median age was 24.2 years and where children aged less than 15 represented 32.1% of the population. Among the provinces, Alberta had the lowest median age (35.6 years). Conversely, Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest median age of the country (42.9 years).

The working-age population

The working-age population, comprised of people aged 15 to 64, is also getting older. As of July 1, 2009, the median age of Canada's working-age population was 40.5 years, up from 38.4 years in 1999.

Most of the baby boomers, the largest population cohorts in Canada's history, are now part of the 45 to 64 age group. As of July 1, 2009, this age group accounted for 40.4% of the nation's working-age population, the highest proportion observed so far. In 1999, about one-third of Canada's working-age population was between the ages of 45 and 64.

From 1999 to 2009, the proportion of persons aged 30 to 44 within the working-age population fell from 36.6% to 30.1%. The proportion of persons aged 15 to 29 was relatively stable, edging down from 29.9% to 29.5%.

The current age structure of Canada's working-age population is similar to that of many countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). According to the latest international data available, 39.7% of the working-age population of France and Germany was in the 45 to 64 age group. Japan was among the leading OECD countries with 41.8% of its working-age population being in that age group.

This proportion of the 45 to 64 age group within the working-age population is approaching a plateau that could remain relatively stable until the beginning of the 2030s. Beginning in 2011, baby-boomers will progressively leave the working-age population.

As a result of the importance of the baby boom cohorts and the baby bust that followed, the size of the working-age population would also get smaller in the years to come. As of July 1, 2009, the working-age population accounted for 69.5% of the Canadian population. This proportion could go down quickly to about 62.0% at the beginning of the 2030s and could continue to edge down afterwards.

The nation's elderly

Canada still has one of the lowest proportions of seniors among the OECD countries. As of July 1, 2009, seniors aged 65 and over accounted for a record high 13.9% of the Canadian population, while children aged less than 15 constituted 16.6 %.

Canada's proportion of seniors was below the OECD average of 14.3%. Countries with a proportion of seniors higher than Canada's average include the United Kingdom (16.0%), France (16.6%) and Germany (20.2%). However, the United States had a lower proportion of seniors with 12.8%.

As the baby boomers enter this age group over the coming decades, the proportion of people 65 and over would increase at a fast pace. Projections show that seniors could account for close to 25.0% by the end of the 2030s.

As of July 1, 2009, there were 1,291,600 people aged 80 and over in Canada. They represented 3.8% of the Canadian population.

The nation also had an estimated 6,000 people aged 100 and over. In 2001, the earliest year for which population estimates of centenarians are available, they numbered 3,400. According to the latest population projections, the number of centenarians could reach 15,000 persons at the beginning of the 2030s.
© Statistics Canada -


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