According to 2016 Census of Population, seniors have outgrown children in Canada. It’s the first time to report such numbers, where Canadians aged less than 15 years old (16.6%) are fewer than those over 65 years of age (16.9%).
Although the numbers might seem close, it is worth noting that in the respective Census of Population back in 2011 the percentage of seniors did not exceed 15 per cent (14.8%). This upward trajectory is not going to stop anytime soon, as per the estimate of Statistics Canada.
Interpreting the Increase of Seniors
There are two different variables that add up to the increasing number of seniors in Canada. On the one hand, baby boomers have already begun retiring. This means that they are no longer part of the Canadian workforce and they have instead started reaping the benefits of their hard work over the years.
On the other hand, life expectancy has skyrocketed and fertility rates have dropped significantly. This pretty much explains why seniors in Canada are a larger part of society than youngsters. If things continue on like that, by 2061 there will be the outstanding number of 12 million seniors, in comparison to the 8 million children.
If you take into account the fact that Canada had the fewest seniors compared to G7 countries (besides the US), you can see why the 20% change of seniors is affecting the country. That being said, on a brighter note Canada still boasts a substantially large population of working age.
Finally, another important fact is that the percentage of women in the general population of Canada increases over time. This is justified by the life expectancy of women, which overcomes that of men.
Distribution of Seniors’ Percentages
As most people suspect, the metropolitan areas of Canada held the largest percentages of people between the age of 15 and 64. At the top, we find Calgary with the impressive 70.2% and Toronto close-by with 68.9%. Ontario, instead, was balanced between children and seniors.
When it comes to the Atlantic Provinces, seniors took up almost 20% of the overall population. Numbers do not lie and therefore these regions appear to be older than anywhere else in the country. As for the lowest percentage of seniors, you will have to look at Nunavut (only 3.8 per cent exceeding the age of 65).
Impact of Seniors’ Increase
Obviously, there is a huge impact on the society in all aspects. First of all, pensioners do not contribute to the finances of the country. On the contrary, they claim what they are entitled to and make use of healthcare more often than other age groups. Only the working age population pays income tax, of course.
So the government needs to adapt to the new data and make sure that healthcare and institutions live up to the challenge of more seniors. The government needs to focus on the sustainability of healthcare and other structures, as well as public transportation and housing. An older population requires different approach in many things.
The workforce will definitely be affected by the increasing rate of seniors, since people retire and new, younger professionals must take over.
Society is clearly not the same as what it used to be some decades or even centuries ago. In the past (let’s take 1871 as an example), life expectancy only reached 40 years of age. Nowadays, it has doubled. No more than 33% were expected to reach 65, but now 9 out of 10 are expected to do so. Different times require a different plan, which is what the Canadians have set their minds on.