Highlights from Wednesday’s census data on age and sex in Canada

Census 2016: Age and sex highlights

OTTAWA — Some highlights from Wednesday’s release of Statistics Canada’s latest tranche of census data, this one focused on age, sex and dwelling types:

— The inexorable march of baby boomers towards retirement resulted in a 20 per cent increase in the number of Canadians aged 65 and older between 2011 and 2016, the largest such increase in 70 years.

— There are 5.9 million Canadians aged 65 and older, a group that now outnumbers children 14 and under (5.8 million) for the first time in history.

— Centenarians, those over the age of 100, comprised the fastest-growing segment of Canada’s population: 8,230 people in 2016, a 41.3 per cent increase thanks to a gradual increase in life expectancy (80 years for men, 84 for women).

— The census counted 770,780 people aged 85 and older, an increase of 19.4 per cent between 2011 and 2016 — nearly four times the growth rate of the overall Canadian population.

— Despite the largest increase in the proportion of seniors (16.9 per cent) since 1871, their share of the Canadian population remains one of the lowest in the G7, second only to the United States.

— Similarly, Canada’s workforce — those aged 15 to 64 — continues to be an economic boon for the country, representing 66.5 per cent of the population, the highest in the G7. However, with 4.9 million people aged 55 to 64 and just 4.3 million aged 15 to 24, those about to leave the workforce significantly outnumber those about to join it.

— Among those 65 and older, Canada has 20 per cent more women than men; women aged 85 and older outnumber their male counterparts two to one.

— In Atlantic Canada, nearly one in five people is over the age of 65, the highest proportion in the country, thanks to low fertility, low immigration and a persistent pattern of young people moving away. The ratio is lowest in Alberta, where just 12.3 per cent of residents are retirement age or older — the largest difference since Confederation.

— The territories are home to the youngest populations in Canada, owing in large part to high fertility rates and lower life expectancy among indigenous Canadians.

— Kent, B.C., boasts the highest proportion of men to women — 122.6 males for every 100 females — owing in part to the fact it’s home to two federal penitentiaries (Mountain Institution and Kent Institution).

— The number of Canadians aged 15 to 64 increased by 452,240 between 2011 and 2016, the smallest relative increase (0.4 per cent) since 1851.

— Detached single-family homes remain the most common dwelling type in Canada, representing 53.6 per cent in 2016, but that percentage is steadily declining. Nearly three in 10 dwellings in Toronto were in a high-rise apartment building, followed by London at 16.8 per cent and Vancouver at 16.7 per cent.

— Building permit numbers suggest the pace of construction of apartment units, in particular condominiums, has surpassed that of single-detached dwellings built since 2012.

The Canadian Press