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

By Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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:

— For the first time since the end of the baby boom, the boomer generation in Canada makes up less than a quarter of the country’s population.

— Statistics Canada projects members of the millennial generation to outnumber boomers by 2029.

— The population aged 85 and older is one of the fastest-growing age groups, and is expected to triple by 2046.

— More than one-quarter of people over the age of 85 live in a “collective dwelling” like a retirement home, nursing home, long-term care facility or seniors’ residence.

— Large cities tend to have younger populations on average than other parts of the country.

— COVID-19 had a large effect on the birthrate in 2020, which was the lowest it’s been since the First World War. The overall birthrate has been in decline since 2016.

— While thousands of seniors died during the COVID-19 pandemic, the pandemic had only a very limited impact on the overall rate of aging in the population.

— Canada’s working-aged population is now older than it’s ever been, with more than one in five people in this population close to retirement.

— Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are the only provinces in the country where children under the age of 15 still outnumber persons aged 65 and older.

— While Canada is no doubt skewing older, it is still behind the aging curve compared to other G7 countries like France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

— The 2021 census marks the first time Canada has asked for data specific to transgender and non-binary people. Statistics Canada says it’s the first country in the world to do so. 

— Of the nearly 30.5 million people in Canada aged 15 and older living in a private household in May 2021, about 0.33 per cent identified as transgender or non-binary.

— Of those, 41 per cent identify as non-binary, 27 per cent identify as transgender men and 31 per cent identify as transgender women. 

— The proportions of transgender and non-binary people were three to seven times higher for generation Z and millennials than for generation X, baby boomers and older generations. 

— Most transgender and non-binary people over the age of 15 live in big cities, but provinces with the highest proportion were Nova Scotia, Yukon and British Columbia in 2021.

— Growth in the number of dwellings once again outpaced the growth of the population since the last census in 2016. However there are parts of the country where the population is growing faster than the housing stock. 

— Single-detached homes are still the most plentiful type of housing in Canada, but apartments and row houses are slowly catching up. 

— The census showed a sharp increase in the number of apartment buildings with five or more storeys, from 9.9 per cent of Canada’s housing stock in 2016 to 10.7 per cent in 2021. 

— Much of the growth is concentrated in and around the downtowns of large urban centres, where millennials, who are most likely to be first-time homebuyers, account for the largest share of the population.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 27, 2022.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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