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According to the most recent projections, the Canadian population—which rose to 32.6 million in 2006—is expected to reach 36 to 42 million people by 2031. Moreover, it is projected that deaths will outnumber births from the years 2020 to 2046, and that net international migration will become the primary source of population growth.
In 2005, Canada’s population was one of the youngest among the G8 countries. However, it is expected to age more quickly in the coming years, in large part due to low fertility and increased longevity. Over the next two decades, baby boomers, who make up the largest segment of the population, will be turning 65, accelerating this aging.
Around the year 2015, for the first time in Canada’s history, there could be more people aged 65 and older than children under the age of 15. In 2031, 8.9 to 9.4 million Canadians will be aged 65 and older, whereas the number of children is expected to be around 4.8 million to 6.6 million.
In the coming decades, the proportion of elderly people will increase and could reach from 23% to 25% of the population in 2031, twice the current proportion of 13%. The proportion of people aged 80 and older is expected to increase more rapidly than the proportion aged 65 and older. One Canadian in 10 will be over the age of 80 by 2056, compared with 1 in 30 in 2005.
The aging of the baby boom generation will have repercussions on the labour force. Canadians of working age (aged 15 to 64) currently represent 70% of the population. This proportion could fall to 62% by the early 2030s and stabilize thereafter at around 60%.