Canadian population, by age

The Canadian population is aging

  • The aging of the Canadian population is due to a number of factors. A major one is the relatively large baby boom generation (born from 1946 to 1966), which is fast approaching retirement age. Another contributing factor is the long-term decline in the number of children per woman, which has fluctuated around 1.5 since 2000, compared with about 3.9 in the second half of the 1950s. The increase in life expectancy, which is now 82.7 years for women and 78.0 years for men, also plays a role in population aging.

  • It is anticipated that more than one in three Canadians will be 55 and over by 2027, compared with almost one in five in 2007. As the proportion of older people increases over the next quarter century, the proportion of children, young adults and middle-aged adults will likely continue to decline. As a result, fewer young people are expected to enter the work force to take the place of retirees. According to the 2006 Census, there were only 1.9 people aged 20 to 34 in the labour force for every participant aged 55 and over, down from 3.7 in 1981.

  • The imminent retirement of many baby boomers will have a significant impact on the Canadian labour market. Aside from the aging of the work force, the participation rate is expected to start falling over the next few years. Having peaked at nearly 68% in 2007, it is projected to shrink to about 60% by 2031. However, if age-specific participation rates continue to follow the upward trend that began in recent years, the decline in the overall participation rate, while inevitable, could be delayed slightly.

Chart M.1
Distribution of the Canadian population, by age, 1997, 2007, 2017 and 2027

Chart M.1  Distribution of the Canadian population, by age, 1997, 2007, 2017 and 2027

Source: Statistics Canada, Demography Division, CANSIM tables 051-0001 and 052-0004.

Date modified: