According to the various projection scenarios, the Canadian population would continue to increase over the next 50 years, from 35.2 million in 2013 to between 40.0 million (low-growth (L) scenario) and 63.5 million (high-growth (H) scenario) by 2063. Under the medium-growth (M1) scenario, the Canadian population would reach 51.0 million in 2063.
From an average annual population growth rate of 10.9 per thousand over the last 30 years, the rate of growth would slowly diminish to 6.7 per thousand by 2062/2063 according to the medium-growth (M1) scenario. In comparison, by 2062/2063, Canada’s annual growth rates would increase to 12.1 per thousand under the high-growth scenario and would decrease to 0.5 per thousand under the low-growth scenario.
In all scenarios, migratory increase would be the main driver of population growth at the national level, continuing a pattern that began in the early 1990s.
The proportion of seniors (aged 65 and over) in the population would increase from 15.3% in 2013 to between 23.8% (scenario H) and 27.8% (scenario L) in 2063. The increase in the share of seniors would be most pronounced between 2013 and 2030, a period during which all members of the baby boom would reach age 65 and over.
The median age of the Canadian population would fall between 41.7 (scenario H) and 46.5 (scenario L) years in 2063, compared to 40.2 years in 2013.
Canada’s demographic dependency ratio (the number of persons aged 14 years and under or 65 years and over per 100 persons aged 15 to 64 years) would increase in all projection scenarios, from 45.9 in 2013 to between 69.7 (scenario M1) and 71.6 (scenario L) in 2063.
According to the medium-growth (M1) scenario, seniors (aged 65 and over) would surpass children (aged 14 and under) in number by 2015, and by 2063, there would be 26.3 children and 43.4 seniors per 100 persons aged 15 to 64 years.
The number of older seniors (aged 80 and over) would continue to increase rapidly in the coming years, particularly between 2026 and 2045 as the baby-boom cohort enters these ages. According to the projection scenarios, the population aged 80 and over would increase from 1.4 million in 2013 to between 4.0 million (scenario L) and 4.9 million (scenario H) by 2045, representing about 10% of the total Canadian population.
The sex composition of older seniors would also change considerably: among persons aged 80 and over, there would be about 83 males per 100 females in 2063 in all scenarios, up from 61 in 2013.
The number of centenarians (persons aged 100 years and over) would multiply nine times over the next 50 years, from 6,900 in 2013 to 62,200 in 2063 according to the medium‑growth (M1) scenario.
Provinces and territories
Continuing long-term trends, the population east of Ontario would continue to decrease as a share of the total Canadian population, according to all projection scenarios. Specifically, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec would experience a decrease in their demographic weight from 2013 to 2038. In contrast, under all scenarios, Alberta would experience an increase in its demographic weight.
Despite the fact that their demographic weight would decrease in most scenarios, Ontario and Quebec would continue to be the most populous provinces in Canada over the next 25 years according to all projection scenarios.
Average annual growth rates would vary considerably among the provinces and territories. While most provinces and territories would experience positive population growth in all scenarios, some would experience population decrease in certain scenarios: under the low-growth scenario, for example, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Yukon and the Northwest Territories would experience negative annual population growth over the next 25 years.
As population aging continues, all provinces and territories would see an increase in the proportion of the population that is aged 65 and over in the coming years. This share would vary widely however, from a low of 7.7% for Nunavut (scenario M5) to a high of 35.9% (scenario M2) for Newfoundland and Labrador in 2038.
With the exception of Nunavut, the provinces and territories could experience a considerable increase in the median age of their populations over the next 25 years. Among the provinces, the median age in 2038 could range between 38.3 years in Alberta (scenario H) to 54.5 years (scenario M2) in Newfoundland and Labrador.