According to the 2006 Census, the number of Canadians aged
65 and over increased 11.5% in the previous five years, and
the number of children under age 15 declined by 2.5% over the
The 65-and-over population made up a record 13.7% of the
total population of Canada in 2006. The proportion of the
under-15 population fell to 17.7%, its lowest level ever.
An increase in immigration since 2001 gave Canada a higher
rate of population growth than in the previous intercensal
period, but it did not slow the aging of Canada's population.
The median age, which divides the population into two groups
of equal size, has risen steadily since 1966, reaching 39.5
years in 2006. It is expected that the median age will rise in
the future and could exceed 44 years by the year 2031.
Canada is still one of the youngest countries in the G8, as
only the United States has a lower proportion of elderly
people (12.4% compared with 13.7%).
Never before has Canada had so many persons aged 80 years
and over: their number topped the 1 million mark for the first
time in 2006 (1.2 million).
Nearly two out of three persons aged 80 years and over were
women, as women have a higher life expectancy than men (82.5
years compared with 77.7 years, in 2004).
The number of centenarians in Canada increased to 4,635 in
2006, up more than 22% from 2001. According to the latest
population projections, the number of centenarians could
triple to more than 14,000 by 2031.
The number of people aged 55 to 64, many of whom are workers
approaching retirement, has never been so high in Canada, at
3.7 million in 2006.
Baby-boomers, people born between 1946 and 1965, were
between 41 and 60 years of age in 2006. Despite the fact that
they are now older, they were still a very large group in the
population: nearly one out of three Canadians was a
baby-boomer in 2006.
The proportion of people aged 65 and over increased in every
province and territory in the last five years, while the
percentage of children under age 15 continued to fall.
The proportion of people aged 65 and over ranged between
15.4% in Saskatchewan and 2.7% in Nunavut. Nunavut also had
the highest proportion of children under age 15 (33.9%), while
Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest (15.5%).
Quebec now has more than 1 million people aged 65 and over.
They made up 14.3% of the province's population, or one out of
seven Quebecers, in 2006.
Because of the Prairie provinces' higher fertility, the
region has the highest proportions of children under age 15.
Nearly one out of five residents of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and
Alberta was under the age of 15 at the time of the last
Canada's urban areas had a much larger young working-age
population (aged 20 to 44) than rural areas, which were
generally older. The differences are due primarily to internal
migration of young adults, who often leave the rural areas in
their late teens or early twenties to pursue their education
or find work in urban areas, and to international immigration,
which is heavily concentrated in large urban centres.
Nine of the 16 youngest CMAs
are in southern Ontario; the oldest are Kelowna, British
Columbia, and Peterborough, Ontario.
The suburbs of large urban centres were younger than the
downtown areas: nearly one out of five people was under age 15
in the suburban parts of s,
compared with 16.5% in the downtown areas, which also had more
persons aged 65 and over (13.8% compared with 11.9% for
Four of the six youngest mid-size urban centres in 2006 were
in Alberta: Okotoks, Cold Lake, Brooks and Grande Prairie.
Parksville (British Columbia), and Elliot Lake (Ontario),
were the oldest mid-size urban centres in Canada in 2006.
Eleven of the 25 youngest small towns and rural communities
were in Alberta. Sylvan Lakes and Lakeland County were not
only two of the youngest small towns and rural areas in the
country but also among the small towns and rural areas with
the highest population growth since 2001.