This greying effect of Canada’s population is not anything new; but as Canada’s baby boomers age it is becoming more and more prevalent in our society today. For the first time since 1871, seniors make up the bigger share of our population. In 2016 children under age 14 made up 16.6% while seniors made up 16.9%. That’s 5.9 million seniors compared with 5.8 million children 14 and under. This is happening now because there are so many healthier aging baby boomers as well as longer life expectancies.
Because of this phenomenon, the portion of the working population, those between 15 and 64, declined to 66.5% from 68.5% over the last five years. This rapid pace of aging comes with profound implications however—everything from pension plans to health care, the labor market and social services. It affects future housing needs, public transportation needs and consumer trends, let alone a shrinking tax base for our governments to contend with. And these problems will only increase. Among these 2016 stats one in eight of those 65 and older, is aged 85 and older.
If statistics interest you, here’s even more interesting facts. The fastest growing population since the last consensus in 2011 is centenarians. There are now over 8,200, an increase of 41.6%. There are five women for every one man, a result of women having the longer life expectancy –83.6 for women compared to 79.4 for men. And by 2051, the number of centenarians could reach as high as 40,000; that’s five times higher than now. The first of the baby boomers born between 1946 and 1951 will be aged 100 and older by then.
If these statistics make you think how old Canada is, think again. Among the G7 countries Canada, along with the United States have the lowest share of seniors. Japan comes in as the oldest population with more than one quarter of its population being seniors.
There is a false stereotype now that those between 15 and 64 are smarter and more economically productive than our seniors. But me and many other seniors will tell you this is certainly not true. You don’t all of a sudden become less intelligent on your 65th birthday. There are so many more people staying in the labor force beyond 65. That’s a good thing because this generation shares their wisdom, act as role models and mentors, and foster family relationships across generations. More and more young people will find jobs working for older people.
As for me, yes, I am now one of those seniors. However I am not one of those staying in the work force. At least that is not my plan. But, I still have many years and many dreams left, with many different directions to discover, many undertakings to tackle. Who knows, I may even become one of Canada’s centenarians. I’ll be 100 in 2052. I live by the words of C.S Lewis “you are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”.
Cheryl W – Coril Holdings Ltd.