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2006 Census: Portrait of the Canadian Population in 2006, by Age and Sex: Provincial/Territorial populations by age and sex

Quebec has more than 1 million seniors

According to the 2006 Census, Quebec now has more than 1 million people aged 65 and over. Seniors made up 14.3% of the province's population, or one Quebecer in seven. This is substantially different from the situation that existed 50 years ago. In 1956, only 5.7% of Quebec's population was 65 years and older, a lower proportion than in any other Canadian province.

Elderly farmer leaning on the fence of a cereal field.

At the time, Quebec had the lowest life expectancy in Canada and for many years previous experienced a fertility rate higher than the national average. However, the province's demographic profile was about to change: life expectancy rose to the national average and fertility dropped more rapidly than in the rest of the country, remaining below the national average for some 40 years.

The result of increased longevity and a rapid drop in fertility has been a very rapid aging. This is particularly evident as the number of seniors has more than quadrupled in the last 50 years. The number of children also declined appreciably, though the decline was not continuous. In 2006, the number of Quebecers under the age of 15 was slightly less than 1.3 million.

Figure 12 Age pyramid of Quebec population in 2001 and 2006

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