We all know that populations in Canada and other advanced economies are aging rapidly, a shift with profound implications for health-care costs, future labour needs and pensions and benefits.
Details on precisely where our population is aging most quickly will emerge Tuesday with the second release of Statistics Canada’s 2011 census, this one on the age and sex distribution of the country’s population.
The release will tell us, down to the neighbourhood, which places in the country have the oldest population (likely, they’re in Atlantic Canada) and which have the youngest (the West).
As David Campbell, economic development consultant, wrote in the Globe last week, in just four decades, Atlantic Canada has gone from having one of the youngest populations in North America to among the oldest, in terms of median age.
Here’s what we learned from the last census: In the past 40 years, the median age of Canadians rose steadily, to 39.5 years in 2006. At the time of the last release, Statscan projected the median age could exceed 44 years by the year 2031.
The last census also showed that seniors represented 13.7 per cent of the Canadian population. “Population projections indicate that this share could increase to 22.8 per cent by 2031, when the last cohort of baby boomers, born in 1965, will reach age 65,” it said at the time.
Tuesday’s census release will also examine trends among children under the age of 14, how many centenarians there are, and changes in the country’s working age population – all of which will be useful, no doubt, to city planners, pension experts, health-care officials and economists.