New census data shows Guysborough County has higher proportion of seniors than province, country

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GUYSBOROUGH – The most recent data released by Statistics Canada from the 2021 Census of Population focuses on age, gender and sex at birth. In the overall picture, Canada is greying. The report stated, “Over 861,000 people aged 85 and older were counted in the 2021 census, more than twice the number observed in the 2001 census. The population aged 85 and older is one of the fastest-growing age groups, with a 12 per cent increase from 2016. Currently, 2.3 per cent of the population is aged 85 and older.”

That growth in the aging demographic is despite the considerable impact COVID-19 has had on the elderly. The report states, “While the COVID-19 pandemic claimed many lives among the oldest Canadians, this population continued to grow rapidly.”

Nationally, the percentage of the population aged 65 years and over is 19.0 per cent. While in Nova Scotia, the same demographic is 22.2 per cent and above 30 per cent in each of the rural municipalities in Guysborough County (see chart).

In Nova Scotia, 2.4 per cent of the population is aged 85 and older, and over 3.0 per cent in all municipal units in Guysborough County (see chart). The trend of a greater female-to-male ratio within this age group remains in the province, 3.0 per cent female to 1.8 per cent male, but the gap is closing.

Nationally, Statistics Canada reports, “Although the majority of people aged 85 and older are still women, the census shows that the number of men in that age group is increasing at a faster pace. In 2021, there were 1.7 women for every man aged 85 and older compared with 1.9 persons of female sex for every person of male sex in 2016.”

For the first time ever the 2021 census included a question on sex ‘at birth’ and a new question on gender was included providing the opportunity for all cisgender, transgender and non-binary individuals to report their gender.

According to Statistics Canada, “Canada is the first country to collect and publish data on gender diversity from a national census.”

The data shows, “of the nearly 30.5 million people in Canada aged 15 and older living in a private household in May 2021, 100,815 were transgender (59,460) or non-binary (41,355), accounting for 0.33 per cent of the population in this age group.”

The highest proportions of transgender and non-binary people are found in younger cohorts with the highest percentage in Generation Z – born between 1997 and 2006 – at 0.79 per cent, followed by millennials with 0.51 per cent. Those born in 1945 and earlier have the lowest reported proportion at 0.12 per cent.

Nova Scotia, along with Yukon and British Columbia, have the highest proportion of transgender and non-binary individuals. In Nova Scotia almost one in 200 people in the province (0.48 per cent) are transgender or non-binary, most of whom reside in the urban area of Halifax.

In Statistics Canada’s analysis of the data it states, “Urban living was more popular among non-binary individuals than among transgender and cisgender individuals. Among all census metropolitan area[s], the largest proportions of transgender and non-binary people aged 15 and older were found in Victoria (0.75 per cent), Halifax (0.66 per cent) and Fredericton (0.60 per cent), on the west and the east coasts of Canada.

“A number of factors could explain the greater gender diversity in these urban centres. Victoria, Halifax and Fredericton experienced stronger population growth from 2016 to 2021 than the national average. Moreover, in 2021, Halifax (27.6 per cent) and Fredericton (26 per cent) had larger proportions of people aged 15 to 34 than the national average (25.0 per cent). All three urban centres are home to several major colleges and universities, and, since students tend to be younger, this could explain the proportionally higher presence of transgender and non-binary people in these urban centres,” the report states.

The next data release for the 2021 census is scheduled for July 13 and will supply information on families, households and marital status; Canadian military experience; and income.

For more information on the 2021 Canadian Census of Population visit:

Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

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