Section 3: Analysis of the results of the long-term projections

Cautionary note

The population projections produced by Statistics Canada's Demography Division are not predictions. They should instead be understood as an exercise designed to envisage what the Canadian population might become in the years ahead according to various scenarios of future change. For this reason, Statistics Canada always publishes several scenarios and formulates several assumptions concerning the main components of population growth. Accordingly, users are invited to consider several scenarios when they analyse the results of the projections.

It should also be kept in mind that the projections are intended to look ahead to what the Canadian population might be in 25 years, in 2036. For this reason, the assumptions made usually take account of observed historical trends, and not only the most recent ones. Users interested in getting a better grasp of the consequences of the most recent changes in Canadian demography are invited to consult the new "short-term" scenario that provides results with a five-year time horizon.

It should also be kept in mind that the accuracy of the projections produced depends on a number of factors, notably various events—economic crises, wars, natural catastrophes, for example—that are difficult to predict and can affect the growth and composition of the Canadian population. For this reason, Statistics Canada makes sure to revise its population projections regularly, so that the context for them is taken into account.

Growth of Canada's population from 2009 to 2061

The Canadian population has grown substantially in recent years, going from 30.7 million in 2000 to 33.7 million in 2009. During that period, population growth increased steadily, going from 9.4 per thousand at the start of the period to 12.4 per thousand at the end. The results of the various scenarios published here show that this growth would continue over the next fifty years. However, the pace of this growth would gradually slow, starting at the beginning of the projection period. This slowing would continue for varying lengths of time depending on the scenario chosen, but in all cases it would fade by the end of the period.

Thus, according to the medium-growth scenario 1 , the Canadian population would grow steadily, increasing from 33.7 million in 2009 to 43.8 million in 2036 and then to 52.6 million in 2061 (Chart 3.1). According to this perspective, the population would grow at an average annual rate of 11.8 per thousand at the start of the period and 7.4 per thousand in 2060/2061 (Chart 3.2). The average annual growth rate for the period from 2009 to 2061 would be 8.6 per thousand, which is lower than the rate recorded during the period from 1981 to 2009 (11.0 per thousand).

According to the high-growth scenario, the Canadian population would go from 33.7 million in 2009 to 47.7 million in 2036, then to 63.8 million in 2061, almost doubling in 50 years. As a result of stronger immigration than in the medium-growth scenario as well as higher life expectancy and, above all, fertility moving closer to the replacement level, this scenario shows an increase that is not only continual but also strong until the end of the projection period. From 12.6 per thousand in 2009/2010, the average annual growth rate would decline slightly to 11.9 per thousand in 2060/2061.

The low-growth scenario offers a different picture; here again Canada would experience growth, but while that growth would be continual, it would fall off rapidly. Under this scenario, the Canadian population would go from 40.1 million in 2036 to 43.0 million in 2061. Thus, the population would grow at a rate of 10.8 per thousand in 2009/2010, then decline to 2.6 per thousand in 2060/2061.

Overall, the projections in the 2009 to 2036 edition yield different results from the preceding series of projections (2005 to 2031); they revise upward the growth that Canada could experience. For example, the results of the medium-growth scenario in the current projections, whereby the Canadian population would reach 50.7 million in 2056, are similar to the high-growth scenario of the preceding projections, which projected a population of 49.7 million in 2056. This is because the assumptions formulated in the two projection series are different, in light of how Canadian demography has evolved recently. The major demographic shifts that have taken place since the preceding series were produced—most notably, increases in fertility and immigration—generally point toward assumptions more favourable to population growth.

Components of growth

Regardless of the scenario, the population would increase, but at a pace that would vary over time. Declining over much of the projection period, the growth rate would reach a plateau, then turn upward again toward 2054 (Chart 3.2). An analysis of the different components of population growth sheds light on the causes of these patterns.

Natural increase

Natural increase is the difference between births and deaths, and its change over time is determined by the intensity of fertility and mortality, but also by the age structure of the Canadian population and how it evolves. For deaths, all scenarios show a fairly steady increase, which would slow at the end of the period. According to the medium-growth scenario, the number of deaths would double during the period: it would go from 243,500 in 2009/2010 to 375,400 in 2035/2036, peak at 487,100 in 2058/2059, then decline to 486,900 in 2060/2061 (Chart 3.3). The number of deaths would parallel the growth of the population as well as its aging. It would accelerate appreciably as the large generation of baby boomers reaches the advanced ages, associated with high mortality.

Eventually, the increase in the number of deaths would slacken and the trend would even turn downward, marking the gradual end of the movement of baby boomers into the ages of high mortality. In 2061, the generation of baby boomers will have practically disappeared from the Canadian population; the youngest of them, born in 1965, will be 96 years of age. This is a noteworthy transition; throughout their lives, baby boomers will, as a consequence of their large numbers, have greatly influenced Canada's demographic landscape.

If the intensity of fertility is held constant, the projected number of births depends on changes in the numbers of women of childbearing age. The rise in their numbers at the start of the period accounts for part of the increase in births that is seen at the start of the projections in the medium and high-growth scenarios. Later, the number of births tends briefly to stabilize before starting to increase again until the end of the projected period.

However, it is important not to neglect the impact of another component, immigration, on how the number of births changes over time. Because a large proportion of immigrants are of childbearing age, strong immigration has a positive effect on the number of births.

According to the medium-growth scenario, the number of births, standing at 390,600 in 2009/2010, would rise to 429,300 in 2022/2023. It would then remain stable until 2029/2030 and would thereafter grow steadily, reaching 526,500 in 2060/2061.

In the medium-growth scenario, the number of deaths would approach the number of births at the end of the period but would never exceed it. Natural increase would therefore remain positive throughout the projected period. It would slightly rise at the start of the period and then fall substantially before edging up at the end of the period (Chart 3.4). The picture would be substantially the same in the high-growth scenario. Only in the low-growth scenario would natural increase become negative, beginning in 2030/2031.

Migratory increase

Until the early 1990s, natural growth has almost always been the main driver of population growth in Canada. In the middle of the 1990s however, a shift has occurred and migratory increase has become the main source of Canadian population growth, partly because of lower fertility, higher immigration and population aging.

In terms of numbers, migratory increase would proceed approximately at the same rate as the growth of the Canadian population, which reflects the fixed rates used in various assumptions for the international migration components. For example, according to the medium-growth scenario, the number of immigrants would be 252,500 in 2009/2010, 333,600 in 2035/2036 and would reach 406,700 in 2060/2061.

In the low and medium-growth scenarios, the decreasing importance of natural increase during almost all of the projected period, that is from 2009/2010 to 2055/2056 according to the low-growth scenario and from 2015/2016 to 2052/2053 according to the medium-growth scenario (Chart 3.4), would mean that population growth in Canada would rely more on migratory increase than on natural increase. In the case of the low-growth scenario, only migratory increase would contribute to population growth of the country, and this as early as 2030/2031.

In the high-growth scenario, natural increase would be on the rise at the beginning of the projection period up to 2018/2019, and from 2037/2038 to the end. However, the share of migratory increase in total population growth would still increase, mostly in the first part of the projection period, going from 60.6% in 2008/2009 to 71.7% by 2035/2036 and 72.1% by 2060/2061.

Thus, according to all selected scenarios, migratory increase would continue to represent an increasing share of future population growth.

Age structure of the Canadian population

According to all the projection scenarios, the Canadian population will continue to age over the coming decades. This process, which has been under way for a long time now, is integral to the current age structure of the population, and it will accelerate in the coming years. While cohorts that followed the baby boom are smaller because fertility is below the replacement level, all cohorts are enjoying a life expectancy that is steadily rising. Consequently, the demographic aging process would become more pronounced between 2010 and 2031, a period during which members of the baby boom generation will reach age 65. After that, aging would continue, but at a less rapid pace. The intensity of population aging varies depending on the projection scenarios chosen.

An evolving age pyramid

The age pyramid, which is a graphical representation of a population's structure by age and sex, sheds light on the changes that the Canadian population is destined to undergo in this regard. Thus, the age pyramid for the year 2009 (Chart 3.5) highlights the sizable demographic weight of the baby boom generation, whose members are aged 43 to 63. The generations born after the baby boomers are smaller, notably because of the low fertility seen in recent decades. This phenomenon is clearly illustrated by the fairly constant narrowing of the base of the pyramid.

According to the medium-growth scenario, the base of the age pyramid in 2036 should be broader than it was in 2009, and it would continue to broaden until 2061. The increase in the number of births, which is responsible for this broadening, mainly reflects two factors: the increase in fertility seen since 2002 and more women in childbearing age due to a positive demographic growth and immigrants' greater contribution.

However, the broadening of the pyramid would be perceptible at all ages, especially the advanced ages. In 2036, and even more so in 2061, the number of persons aged 65 years or over would be larger than in 2009 and the top of the pyramid would have a less slender appearance. Mortality would then be concentrated at very advanced ages, and compared to 2009, would be distributed over a much narrower age range (Chart 3.6). This phenomenon is clearly illustrated by the increase in the modal age at death, which would go from 84 years in 2008/2009 to 88 years in 2035/2036 and then to 91 years in 2060/2061 according to the medium-growth scenario.

Distribution of the population by age groups

  1. Young people

The number of children (aged 0 to 14 years) reached 5.6 million in 2009, up slightly from 2008. This was the first increase in the number of children since 1996. According to the medium and high-growth scenarios, the number of children would increase each year. In the low-growth scenario, the number of children would grow until 2022 (increase of 213,600), would then decline until 2041 (decrease of 113,400), then rise again until the projection horizon in 2061 (increase of 201,300). Depending on the scenario, the number of children would range between 5.7 and 8.2 million in 2036 and between 5.9 and 11.1 million in 2061. According to the medium-growth scenario, the number of children would reach 6.9 million in 2036 and 8.2 million in 2061 (Chart 3.7).

  1. Seniors

In 2009, Canada had 4.7 million persons aged 65 years or over, twice the number recorded in 1981. According to all the projection scenarios, the growth of this group would accelerate in the coming years. By 2036, the number of seniors would more than double, ranging between 9.9 and 10.9 million depending on the scenario. In 2061, this number would range between 11.9 million and 15.0 million.

In 2009, Canada had 120 children per hundred seniors, a figure that had fallen by half since 1980. All the growth scenarios adopted show that this decline would continue in the coming years and the number of seniors would exceed the number of children in the near future. This reversal would occur in 2015 in the low-growth scenario and six years later in the high-growth scenario. This would be the first time in the history of the Canadian population that the number of persons aged 65 years or over exceeded the number of children under 15 years of age. Indeed, the children-seniors ratio would steadily diminish and would be between 58 and 75 children per hundred seniors in 2036 and between 50 and 74 in 2061 (Chart 3.8).

  1. Working-age population

It is interesting to see how the 15-to-64 age group changes in size over time, since it includes most of the labour force and thus has an impact on the level of labour availability in Canada. 2  In 2009, this population accounted for approximately 69% of the Canadian population, a proportion that has risen since 1995 and is among the highest in industrialized countries. The corresponding proportion is 68% in Australia, 67% in the United States, 66% in France and the United Kingdom, 64% in Japan and 65% in the world as a whole.

However, according to all the scenarios adopted, the proportion of the population that is working age is bound to decline throughout the projection period. This decline would be especially rapid from the start of the projection until 2030, the year when the movement of baby boomers into the 65 years or over age group is completed; after that, it would be more moderate. Thus, the proportion of the population aged 15 to 64 years would decline to approximately 60% in 2036. It would then remain relatively stable around this level (Chart 3.9).

Nevertheless, in 2061 the size of the working-age population would exceed the 2009 level, according to all the projection scenarios (Chart 3.7). In absolute numbers, the ranks of working-age persons would increase throughout the projected period, although at quite a variable rate; in the low-growth scenario, they would even decrease at times (Chart 3.10).

The narrow gap between the growth levels in the three scenarios during the initial three years of projection in Chart 3.10 is due to the use of constant immigrant numbers (obtained from the target range in the CIC Immigration Plan) that vary little from one scenario to another. Starting in 2012/2013, the immigration rates suggest greater divergence among the scenarios.

The population aged 15 to 64 years grew steadily throughout the entire twentieth century, and in 2009 it stood at 23.4 million. According to the medium-growth scenario, it would reach 26.5 million in 2036 and 31.0 million in 2061. In the low-growth scenario, the population aged 15 to 64 years would reach 24.5 million in 2036 and would then grow more modestly, reaching 25.2 million in 2061. Finally, in the high-growth scenario, the working-age population would reach 28.7 million in 2036 and 37.6 million in 2061.

  1. Demographic dependency ratio

In 2009, the demographic dependency ratio, which indicates the number of persons aged 14 years or under or 65 years or over per hundred persons of working age (15 to 64 years), was 44. Specifically, there were 24 young persons aged 14 years or under and 20 persons aged 65 years or over per hundred working-age persons. According to all the growth scenarios developed, the dependency ratio would increase rapidly until 2030 because of baby boomers reaching age 65 years and smaller cohorts replacing them (Chart 3.11). According to the scenarios, the demographic dependency ratio would reach approximately 65 years in 2036 and roughly 70 years in 2061. According to the medium-growth scenario, persons under 14 years and those aged 65 years or over would be equal in number in 2017, and then seniors would take the lead, so that by 2036 there would be 39 seniors and 26 children per hundred working-age persons.

Population aging

Canada has been an aging society for some time now. It is indicative of this phenomenon that the proportion of seniors (aged 65 years or over) within the population has steadily grown since 1960, going from 8% at that time to 14% in 2009. According to all projection scenarios adopted, this increase would continue in the coming years. The proportion of persons aged 65 years or over would range between 23% and 25% in 2036 and between 24% and 28% in 2061. In the medium-growth scenario, the proportion aged 65 years and over would reach 24% in 2036 (Chart 3.9) and 25% in 2061. The increase in the proportion of seniors would be especially rapid in the next 25 years. Throughout this period at least, as shown by the age pyramids based on relative values (Chart 3.12), the increase would be more attributable to the growing number of persons aged 65 years and over than to changes seen in the 0-to-14 and 15-to-64 age groups. By contrast, the following 25 years, from 2036 to 2061, would see much more modest changes (Chart 3.13).

Another indicator of the Canadian population's aging is the increase in the median age. The median age increased 10 years between 1981 and 2009, from 30 years to 40 years. The three projection scenarios adopted indicate that the median age would continue to increase at least until 2039. After that, it would continue to rise slightly in the low-growth scenario, would decrease slightly in the high-growth scenario and would tend to remain stable in the medium-growth scenario.

Starting in 2040, the relative stability in the median age occurs following the deaths of the baby boom generation and hence to the gradual emergence of a more regular age profile.

According to the scenarios, the median age would vary between 42 and 45 years in 2036 and between 42 and 47 years in 2061. In the medium-growth scenario, the median age would be stable at around 44 years during the period from 2036 to 2061 (Chart 3.14).

Very old age and centenarians

In 2009, the Canadian population had 1.3 million very old persons (aged 80 years or over), twice as many as in 1990. In all the projection scenarios, the number of very old persons would continue to increase rapidly in the coming years. According to the medium-growth scenario, the population aged 80 years or over would have increased 2.6 times by 2036 to 3.3 million, and 3.9 times by 2061 to more than 5.1 million (Chart 3.15). These major increases are due in large part to the baby boomers reaching these ages, and to a lesser extent to the gradual increase in life expectancy. Similarly, the change in the proportion of the population aged 65 years or over consisting of those aged 80 years or over varies as baby boomers move into the ages 65-79 years at the start of the period and into the ages 80 years or over in the middle of the period and finally as they gradually disappear at the end of the projection period (Chart 3.16). According to the medium-growth scenario, the proportion of people aged 80 years or over among the senior population (aged 65 years or over) would reach about one person out of three by 2036 and slightly less than two persons out of five by 2061.

The sex ratio of the very old population is the number of men aged 80 years or over per hundred women of the same age. This ratio has been far below 100 for a number of decades, because of higher male mortality at all ages. In 2009, the ratio was 58 men aged 80 years or over per hundred women. According to all the growth scenarios developed, this ratio would rise and would range between 72 and 75 men per hundred women in 2036 and between 75 and 80 men per hundred women in 2061 (Chart 3.17). The increase in the ratio would be mainly due to the reduction in the mortality gap between sexes.

The number of persons reaching very old ages is also bound to increase, according to the projection scenarios. From approximately 6,000 in 2009, the number of centenarians living in Canada could nearly triple and almost quadruple by 2036, depending on the scenario adopted. In 2061, their number would range between 61,000 and 99,000 depending on the scenario.

Growth of the population of the provinces and territoriesfrom 2009 to 2036

For population projections at the scale of the provinces and territories, there is one more factor responsible for variation than in projections for Canada as a whole, namely interprovincial migration. In fact, in some provinces, interprovincial migration is the component that has the greatest impact on recent population growth (Dion and Coulombe, 2008).

The projections results show that the most favourable scenarios and the most unfavourable scenarios for the population growth of each specific province and territory are not always the high and low-growth scenarios (scenarios L and H), but sometimes the medium-growth scenarios that feature especially favourable or unfavourable interprovincial migration. This situation is indicative of the importance of interprovincial migration in how the population of some provinces changes over time.

According to the scenarios adopted for these projections, only Newfoundland and Labrador might have a population smaller in 2036 than its estimated population in 2009, and only in certain scenarios (Table 3.1). This province would see its population decline in three of the six scenarios, namely in the low-growth scenario and in medium-growth scenarios M2 and M4.

For provinces other than Newfoundland and Labrador as well as the territories, the projected population in 2036 would in all cases be larger than the estimated population in 2009. However, the projected growth rate differs greatly from one province to another, and for a given province from one scenario to another (Table 3.2). Ontario and British Columbia would record average annual growth exceeding that of the Canadian population as a whole, in all six scenarios. Conversely, all scenarios suggest average annual growth below that of Canada in Quebec, the Atlantic provinces and Nunavut. For the rest, the picture is more varied. Projected average annual growth is above the national average in only one of the six growth scenarios in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, in two of the six scenarios in Yukon and in five of the six scenarios in Alberta.

According to these scenarios, the demographic weight of the provinces within Canada is going to evolve between now and 2036 (Table 3.3). Ontario's population would reach between 16.1 million and 19.4 million in 2036, representing approximately 40% of the Canadian population, up from 38.7% in 2009. British Columbia, whose population was approximately 4.5 million in 2009, would see its demographic weight rise to more than 14.0% of the Canadian population, or even to 16.2% (7.1 million) according to the scenario that is most favourable to it. As for Alberta, according to the different scenarios, its population would range between 4.6 million and 5.7 million, or 10.8% to 13.0% of the Canadian population.

Quebec, which would have a population of between 8.6 million and 10.0 million in 2036, would see its demographic weight go from 23.2% in 2009 to 21.4% in 2036 in the best case, although it would remain Canada's second largest province. Between 2.4 million and 2.7 million persons, or 5.4% to 6.0% of the Canadian population, would live in one of the Atlantic provinces in 2036, compared to 2.3 million, or 6.9% of the population, in 2009. In Manitoba, the population could reach between 1.4 million and 1.7 million, and the province's demographic weight would change only slightly during the projected period. Finally, Saskatchewan would have between 1.1 million and 1.4 million inhabitants in 2036 depending on the scenario, and would at best see its demographic weight remain the same.

Age structure of the population of the provinces and territories

The age structure at the national level masks major provincial and territorial differences. These differences are generated by observed gaps between provinces and territories with respect to fertility and immigration, but also with respect to interprovincial migration. Table 3.4 shows the median age in the different provinces and territories according to the six scenarios.

Overall, regardless of the scenario chosen, the Atlantic provinces would have the oldest populations in Canada in 2036. Newfoundland and Labrador had the oldest population in Canada in 2009, and according to all the scenarios, it would continue to do so in 2036. These results largely reflect the lower fertility recorded in these provinces and especially in Newfoundland and Labrador. That said, the impact of other components such as immigration and interprovincial migration are still important. As evidence, the projected median age varies greatly between the different medium-growth scenarios, which, it should be recalled, differ only in terms of interprovincial migration. Unlike what can be seen in the other provinces and territories, the highest median age is generated by a variant of the medium-growth scenario rather than by the low-growth scenario, even though the latter scenario features lower fertility and lower immigration (scenario M4 in Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick, scenario M2 in Prince Edward Island and scenarios M2 and M4 in Nova Scotia).

Conversely, according to all scenarios, the projected populations would be youngest in Nunavut and in the Northwest Territories. These two territories stand out with relatively high fertility in relation to the other provinces and territories, and this generates a younger median age than elsewhere.

For their part, the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta would have a median age below the Canadian average, regardless of the scenario chosen. Elsewhere, the picture would be more varied. For example, the projected median age is higher than the Canadian average for only one scenario in Saskatchewan, and on the contrary for all scenarios but one in British Columbia (in both cases, scenario M3).

With a median age of 35.6 years, Alberta was in 2009 the youngest province in Canada, excepting the particular situation of the Northwest Territories (31.5 years) and Nunavut (24.2 years). However, in 2036, Manitoba's median age would be lower than Alberta's in four of the six scenarios. The gap between the median ages of the youngest province and the oldest, which was 7.2 years in 2009, would range between 8.2 years (scenarios L and M3) and 10.4 years (scenario M4) in 2036. The high-growth scenario is always associated with the youngest median age, in all provinces and territories.

The proportion of persons aged 65 years or more would be much higher than in 2009, in all scenarios for each province and territory (Table 3.5). The Atlantic provinces and Quebec, in each of the scenarios presented, would have a larger proportion aged 65 years or over in 2036 than would Canada as a whole. Conversely, the corresponding proportion would be smaller than the Canadian average in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. In Yukon, the projected proportion of persons aged 65 years or over in 2036 would be larger than the national average only in scenario M4. This would also be the case in Saskatchewan in scenarios M3 and M4 and in British Columbia in scenarios L, M1 and M4.

Overall, the disparities existing among the provinces in 2009 would tend to endure in the future, with some exceptions. The most striking example of this certainly Newfoundland and Labrador, where the proportion of persons aged 65 years or over was close to the Canadian average in 2009 (14.8% compared to 13.9%); in 2036, that province would consistently have Canada's highest proportion of persons aged 65 years or over (according to all scenarios). Charts 3.18 to 3.43 present the population and the age structure for each provinces and territories.

Sensitivity of results to projection assumptions

The above results for Canada according to the low, medium and high-growth scenarios stem from the combined effect of assumptions on immigration, fertility and life expectancy. In addition to reflecting the uncertainty associated with any population projection, these scenarios allow us to consider a large number of possibilities as to the future course of the population. However, it becomes difficult to determine the specific effect of each component on the structure and size of the population at the end of the projection period.

To analyse the sensitivity of the results to the projection assumptions and better understand the impact of each component, six analytical scenarios were created, based on medium-growth scenario M1. In them, a single assumption was modified. Scenarios 1 and 2 are intended to examine the impact of fertility. Scenario 1 is identical to scenario M1, except that it uses the low fertility assumption, the one used in the low-growth scenario. Scenario 2 does the same, except that in this case the high fertility assumption is adopted, the one used in the high-growth scenario. In the same way, scenario M1 was modified by replacing the medium assumption by the low and high assumptions for the mortality component (scenarios 3 and 4) and the immigration component (scenarios 5 and 6).

Each of the three components has an effect on the size of the projected population, but immigration is the component with the greatest impact, followed by fertility (Chart 3.44). With low immigration (rate of 6.0 per thousand), the population would reach 47.6 million in 2061, whereas it would reach 58.2 million if immigration were high (rate of 9.0 per thousand), representing a difference of approximately 10.6 million. The difference is smaller but not insignificant between the low fertility scenario (1.5 children per woman) and the high fertility scenario (1.9 children per woman). In 2061, the difference between the two scenarios would be approximately 8.2 million. Finally, population growth would be much less affected by an acceleration or deceleration of the increase in life expectancy. Here the difference between the low and high scenarios would be approximately 1.9 million in 2061.

Immigration therefore has a major impact on population size, but it is important to note that the impact varies considerably from one province to another. The provinces and territories that receive more immigrants in proportion to their population are naturally more sensitive to changes in the number of immigrants. Thus, while the population of Canada in 2036 would be 4.5% larger with the high immigration assumption than with the medium assumption, the percentage would vary between 5.4% and 4.8% in Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba (Table 3.6).

While immigration and fertility levels both greatly influence the projected population figures, of the two, it is fertility that has the largest impact on the age structure of the population, which is most likely to either slow down or accelerate the aging of the Canadian population between now and 2061 (Chart 3.45). The scenarios that suggest fertility levels different from the medium scenario are those that feature the largest gap in the median age (4.5 years). The median age projected with the low fertility assumption would be 46.4 years, whereas it would be only 41.9 years with the high fertility assumption. The low fertility assumption generates a smaller number of births, which has the consequence of accelerating the aging of the population by reducing the number of young people in relation to seniors. Higher fertility has exactly the opposite effect. Immigration and mortality levels also influence the median age and aging, but much more modestly. The scenarios that differ from the medium scenario only in their immigration level have a median age gap of approximately one year, as do those that differ only in their mortality level. Clearly, variations in mortality and immigration have a limited impact on the aging of the Canadian population. 3 

It is important to note that if other assumptions had been chosen, this would have led to conclusions different from those presented here. High and low assumptions calling for smaller or greater differences in relation to the medium scenario could change the order of importance of the effects of phenomena, especially for fertility and immigration.

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