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2006 Census: Portrait of the Canadian Population in 2006, by Age and Sex: Highlights

  • According to the 2006 Census, the number of Canadians aged 65 and over increased 11.5% in the previous five years, and the number of children under age 15 declined by 2.5% over the same period.
  • The 65-and-over population made up a record 13.7% of the total population of Canada in 2006. The proportion of the under-15 population fell to 17.7%, its lowest level ever.
  • An increase in immigration since 2001 gave Canada a higher rate of population growth than in the previous intercensal period, but it did not slow the aging of Canada's population.
  • The median age, which divides the population into two groups of equal size, has risen steadily since 1966, reaching 39.5 years in 2006. It is expected that the median age will rise in the future and could exceed 44 years by the year 2031.
  • Canada is still one of the youngest countries in the G8, as only the United States has a lower proportion of elderly people (12.4% compared with 13.7%).
  • Never before has Canada had so many persons aged 80 years and over: their number topped the 1 million mark for the first time in 2006 (1.2 million).
  • Nearly two out of three persons aged 80 years and over were women, as women have a higher life expectancy than men (82.5 years compared with 77.7 years, in 2004).
  • The number of centenarians in Canada increased to 4,635 in 2006, up more than 22% from 2001. According to the latest population projections, the number of centenarians could triple to more than 14,000 by 2031.
  • The number of people aged 55 to 64, many of whom are workers approaching retirement, has never been so high in Canada, at 3.7 million in 2006.
  • Baby-boomers, people born between 1946 and 1965, were between 41 and 60 years of age in 2006. Despite the fact that they are now older, they were still a very large group in the population: nearly one out of three Canadians was a baby-boomer in 2006.
  • The proportion of people aged 65 and over increased in every province and territory in the last five years, while the percentage of children under age 15 continued to fall.
  • The proportion of people aged 65 and over ranged between 15.4% in Saskatchewan and 2.7% in Nunavut. Nunavut also had the highest proportion of children under age 15 (33.9%), while Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest (15.5%).
  • Quebec now has more than 1 million people aged 65 and over. They made up 14.3% of the province's population, or one out of seven Quebecers, in 2006.
  • Because of the Prairie provinces' higher fertility, the region has the highest proportions of children under age 15. Nearly one out of five residents of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta was under the age of 15 at the time of the last census.
  • Canada's urban areas had a much larger young working-age population (aged 20 to 44) than rural areas, which were generally older. The differences are due primarily to internal migration of young adults, who often leave the rural areas in their late teens or early twenties to pursue their education or find work in urban areas, and to international immigration, which is heavily concentrated in large urban centres.
  • Nine of the 16 youngest CMAs are in southern Ontario; the oldest are Kelowna, British Columbia, and Peterborough, Ontario.
  • The suburbs of large urban centres were younger than the downtown areas: nearly one out of five people was under age 15 in the suburban parts of CMAs, compared with 16.5% in the downtown areas, which also had more persons aged 65 and over (13.8% compared with 11.9% for peripheral municipalities).
  • Four of the six youngest mid-size urban centres in 2006 were in Alberta: Okotoks, Cold Lake, Brooks and Grande Prairie.
  • Parksville (British Columbia), and Elliot Lake (Ontario), were the oldest mid-size urban centres in Canada in 2006.
  • Eleven of the 25 youngest small towns and rural communities were in Alberta. Sylvan Lakes and Lakeland County were not only two of the youngest small towns and rural areas in the country but also among the small towns and rural areas with the highest population growth since 2001.

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