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The Canadian Population in 2011: Age and Sex


The number of seniors aged 65 and over increased 14.1% between 2006 and 2011 to nearly 5 million. This rate of growth was higher than that of children aged 14 and under (0.5%) and people aged 15 to 64 (5.7%).

Seniors accounted for a record high of 14.8% of the population in Canada in 2011, up from 13.7% five years earlier.

In 2011, the proportion of seniors in Canada was among the lowest of the G8 countries.

The population of children aged 4 and under increased 11.0% between 2006 and 2011. This was the highest growth rate for this age group since the 1956 to 1961 period during the baby boom.

In 2011, there were 5,825 centenarians in Canada, up 25.7% since 2006. This was the second most rapidly growing age group among all age groups after those aged 60 to 64.

In 2011, the working-age population (those aged 15 to 64) represented 68.5% of the Canadian population. This proportion was higher than in any other G8 country, except Russia.

Among the working-age population, 42.4% were in the age group 45 to 64, a record high proportion. Almost all people aged 45 to 64 in 2011 were baby boomers.

In 2011, census data showed for the first time that there were more people aged 55 to 64, typically the age group where people leave the labour force, than aged 15 to 24, typically the age group where people enter it.

In 2011, the proportion of seniors was the highest in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and British Columbia.

For the first time in 50 years, the number of children aged 4 and under increased between 2006 and 2011 in all provinces and territories.

In 2011, all census metropolitan areas located west of Ontario had a proportion of people aged 65 and over below the national average of 14.8%, except for Kelowna and Victoria in British Columbia.

Nearly 1 in 5 people were aged 65 and over in Peterborough and Trois-Rivières; in Calgary, this proportion was lower than 1 in 10 people.

Most census metropolitan areas with proportions of seniors lower than the Canadian average (such as Calgary, Halifax and St. John's) also had higher-than-average proportions of people aged between 15 and 64.

Among census agglomerations, Parksville, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia and Elliot Lake, in Ontario, had the highest proportion of seniors, at twice the national average of 14.8%.

In 2011, 5 of the 10 census agglomerations that registered the highest proportions of people aged 15 to 64 were in Alberta.

Seven of the 10 municipalities with the highest proportion of seniors were in British Columbia.

The number of Canadians aged 65 and older is up and is close to 5 million

The 2011 Census counted 4,945,060 people aged 65 and older in Canada, an increase of more than 609,810, or 14.1%, between 2006 and 2011. This rate of growth was more than double the 5.9% increase for the Canadian population as a whole.

In comparison, the number of children aged 14 and under increased by 27,505, or 0.5%, to 5,607,345.


During the same period, the number of people aged 15 to 64 increased by 1,226,475, or 5.7%, to 22,924,285.

Seniors accounted for a record high of 14.8% of the population in 2011, up from 13.7% five years earlier.

This proportion has steadily increased since the end of the 1960s for two reasons: below replacement fertility levels2 and longer life expectancy.

Despite the growth in their numbers, the proportion of children aged 14 and under fell from 17.7% in 2006 to 16.7% in 2011.

The proportion of the working-age population remained virtually unchanged between 2006 and 2011 at 68.5%.

Population aged 60 to 64 growing most rapidly

Of all five-year age groups, the 60 to 64 year old group experienced the fastest increase, at 29.1% (Figure 2). This suggests that population aging will accelerate in Canada in the coming years, as the large baby boom generation, those born between 1946 and 1965, reaches 65 years old. The first baby boomers reached 65 years old in 2011.


Population aged 60 to 64 growing most rapidly

Of all five-year age groups, the 60 to 64 year old group experienced the fastest increase, at 29.1% (Figure 2). This suggests that population aging will accelerate in Canada in the coming years, as the large baby boom generation, those born between 1946 and 1965, reaches 65 years old. The first baby boomers reached 65 years old in 2011.


Canada's population among the youngest in the G8

The proportion of seniors increased between 2006 and 2011 in all G8 countries except Russia, suggesting many countries face challenges related to population aging.

Canada's population remains one of the youngest among the G8. In 2011, only the United States and Russia had a lower proportion of seniors than Canada, as shown in Figure 3. The baby boom in Canada was larger than in many other G8 countries, and most baby boomers have not yet reached age 65.


In Canada, the proportion of people aged 15 to 64 has remained close to 68% since 1981, because the baby boom generation has been in this age range.

As the first baby boomers reached age 65 in 2011, it is projected that the working-age population as a proportion of the total population will decrease.3

Record high proportion of people aged 45 to 64 in the working-age population

In 2011, the proportion of people aged 45 to 64 among the working-age population reached 42.4%, a record proportion. This was well above the proportion of 28.6% observed in 1991.

Almost all people aged 45 to 64 in 2011 were baby boomers.

Fewer young people about to enter the labour force than those about to leave it

In 2011, census data showed for the first time that there were more people in the age group where people typically leave the labour force (55 to 64), than in the age group where people typically enter it (15 to 24).

The 2011 Census counted 4,393,305 people aged 55 to 64 and 4,365,585 people aged 15 to 24.

In 2001, for every person aged 55 to 64, there were 1.40 people in the age group 15 to 24. By 2011, this ratio had fallen slightly below 1 (0.99) for the first time, as shown in Figure 5.




2 comments:

  1. "In 2011, census data showed for the first time that there were more people in the age group where people typically leave the labour force (55 to 64), than in the age group where people typically enter it (15 to 24)." >> This seems to be a problem all around the globe, not only in Canada. It might raise some pension problems, unless the administration does something about it.

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