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Canada's Census 2021

Canada continues to get older... and younger?

With a flair for the dramatic and an understanding of the ‘hype’ factor that drives internet media, the Canadian government has segmented their 2021 Census analysis in 7 major themes that are being teased upfront and released sporadically throughout the year. The April 27 drop, enticingly titled Canada’s shifting demographic profile brought some expected trends on our aging population to light as well as some surprises.

The 7 million people aged 65 and older in 2021 represent nearly 1 in 5 Canadians (19.0%), up from 16.9% in 2016.
The number of persons aged 85 and older has doubled since 2001, reaching 861,000 in 2021. According to population projections, this number could triple by 2046.

The implications of these trends are well documented and understood - stress on social welfare, long term care systems, elderly isolation, etc. Although well-documented, these shifts don’t show us a comprehensive picture of how the following decades will be experienced by the people behind those trends. Innovations in healthcare and improved access has resulted in a population that for the most part is able to extend their self-reliance well into the later stages of their lives. This is a pattern that will continue to be improved with a new generation of people aging with new technologies to assist their day-to-day lives. The impending wave of retirees will have additional impacts on our society.

The working-age population (persons aged 15 to 64) has never been older. More than 1 in 5 persons (21.8%) in this population is close to retirement, that is, aged 55 to 64. This proportion represents an all-time high in the history of Canadian censuses.

The interesting twist to this aging story is that Millennials, who are those born between 1981 and 1996 and were between 25 and 40 years old in 2021, are the fastest-growing generation. Their numbers rose 8.6% between 2016 and 2021. This increase is due to immigration, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on recent immigration (Statistics Canada, 2022). So, wait… we are getting older as a society, but also younger? Well, kind of. For decades our demographic analysis and trends have been dominated by the baby boomer generation growing up. Whatever age they were, they made up the majority of that cohort.

For the first time since the end of the baby boom, baby boomers—who were born between 1946 and 1965 and were between the ages of 56 and 75 in 2021—make up less than a quarter of the Canadian population. They represent 24.9% of the Canadian population, compared with 41.7% in 1966, when they were under the age of 20

The fact that millennials are the fastest growing generation does not mean we aren’t facing the realities associated with an aging society, but it does point to a positive trend of younger people continuing to come to Canada.

Hello Jack is the product of these two converging demographic and societal trends: an aging society that is empowered to remain self-reliant longer and a growing millennial cohort that is in search of something more! The 2021 census reinforces trends from the 2016 census that we based our initial assumptions and premises on. The census release is an exciting time for us as we are enthralled with what these demographic trends mean for our country.

One more thing - we would be remiss to not give a shout out to the fact that Canada has become the first country to provide census data on transgender and non-binary people. This makes us proud to be Canadian.

*All demographic statistics in this article are retrieved from Statistics Canada's April 27 2022 analysis of the 2021 census. Found here



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