Canada in midst of mini baby boom, shows new census figures

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Statistics Canada released new census figures, Tuesday, telling us what we already knew: Canada is turning grey.

According to the new data, the number of seniors aged 65 and over increased 14.1 per cent between 2006 and 2011, a rate that was more than double the 5.9 per cent increase for the Canadian population as a whole.

But the news isn't all bad.

It appears Canada might be in the midst of a baby boom - or at least a baby bump.

StatsCan claims the number of babies and toddlers under the age of four was up 11 per cent from 2006. That's the biggest growth in the category since the actual "Baby Boom" following the Second World War.

"The population is getting older, on average, in Canada," Statistics Canada senior demographer Laurent Martel told the Globe and Mail.

"But obviously we're showing today, at the same time we have population aging we can have an increase in the number of young kids."

Martel said the increase is due to a higher fertility rate in Canada — going from 1.5 in 2000 to 1.7 children per woman in 2011. As well, there's been an increase in the number of women in their "prime child-bearing years," between 20 and 34.

But he cautions that this is not the baby boom of the 1950s.

"The baby boom period, between 1946 and 1965, it was a different scope, it was a really different magnitude," he said. "At that time, the number of children per woman was about four so it was way different than what we're seeing right now."

Nevertheless, the increase in young children could have an impact on population projections, he said, as well as implications for policy makers and urban planners, including a need for more parks, schools and daycare centres.

On the plus side, it means more future 'taxpayers' to pay for an aging population.

Other information from the 2011 census (Source: The Canadian Press):

- 5,825: The number of people in Canada aged 100 and older in 2011. (compared to 3,795 in 2001.

- 78,300: The number of people in Canada aged 100 and older in the year 2061, according to Statistics Canada projections.

- 4,945,060: The number of people in Canada aged 65 or older in 2011; 14.1 per cent more than in 2006.

- 2016: The year Statistics Canada projects children under 14 will, for the first time, be outnumbered by seniors.