National Seniors Day... by the numbers
- Life expectancy
- Historical age pyramid
- Health and well-being
- Labour force participation of seniors
- Seniors on the Internet
- Seniors' transportation
October 1 is National Seniors Day. This is an occasion for all Canadians to appreciate and celebrate seniors.
Here are some selected facts related to the demographic, socioeconomic and health portrait of seniors (people aged 65 and over) in Canada.
(Last updated: September 24, 2014)
The aging of the population in Canada will accelerate between 2010 and 2031, the period during which all baby boomers will reach age 65. Population aging will continue after 2031, but at a slower pace.
- 4,945,055 — The number of seniors aged 65 and over in Canada in 2011.
- 4,335,250 — The number of seniors aged 65 and over in Canada in 2006.
Today, one in seven Canadians is aged 65 or over. By 2036, nearly one in four Canadians will be a senior.
Sources: Population by broad age groups and sex, 2011 counts for both sexes, for Canada, provinces and territories; "Population projections: Canada, the provinces and territories, 2013 to 2063," The Daily, Wednesday, September 17, 2014; Population Projections for Canada, Provinces and Territories, 2009 to 2036; Canadian Demographics at a Glance.
- 5,825 — The approximate number of centenarians (seniors aged 100 and over) in 2011.
- 3,795 — The approximate number of centenarians (seniors aged 100 and over) in 2001.
According to population projections, the number of centenarians could reach 20,300 in 2036 and continue to increase in future years, reaching more than 62,000 in 2063.
Source: 2011 Census, Centenarians in Canada; "Population projections: Canada, the provinces and territories, 2013 to 2063," The Daily, Wednesday, September 17, 2014.
In 2011, Canadians lived an average of 81.7 years, an increase of almost 25 years since 1921.
Most of the increases in life expectancy in the past 90 years came from declines in what is frequently called premature death—death among individuals who are younger than age 75.
Canadians are living longer, but, for many adults, the ability to perform key health functions declines as they age. After age 65, the decline in functional health tends to accelerate, with more severe disability (many activity limitations) occurring, on average, around age 77.
Source: " Study: Ninety years of change in life expectancy, 1921 to 2011,"The Daily, Thursday, July 17, 2014.
The main factors behind the aging of Canada's population are the nation's below-replacement-level fertility rate over the last 40 years and an increasing life expectancy.
- 79 years — Life expectancy for men in 2009.
- 83 years — Life expectancy for women in 2009.
- 69 years — Life expectancy for men in 1970.
- 76 years — Life expectancy for women in 1970.
Historical age pyramid
The historical age pyramid uses a dynamic age pyramid to show the evolution of the age structure of the Canadian population from 1921 to 2011.
Health and well-being
Social participation is an important correlate of health and well-being in older adults. It may be that social support gained through social contacts is as important in these associations as the number of activities in which one participates frequently.
- 80% — The proportion of seniors who are frequent (at least monthly) participants in at least one social activity.
Source: "Social participation and the health and well-being of Canadian seniors," Health Reports, October 2012.
Seniors are often affected by multiple physical health issues, such as chronic conditions and reduced mobility and functioning. However, many feel healthy and are willing to take action to improve their health.
- 37% — The proportion of seniors in 2009 who reported they had taken some action to improve their health such as increasing their level of physical activity (71%), losing weight (21%) or changing their eating habits (13%).
Many seniors are affected by a combination of chronic conditions.
- 89% — The proportion of Canadian seniors in 2009 who had at least one chronic condition. Arthritis and rheumatism were identified as among the more common chronic conditions, affecting 44% of seniors aged 65 and over.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis seen in seniors aged 75 and older, affecting 85% of that population.
- 25% — The proportion of Canadian seniors in 2009 aged 65 to 79 who reported having four or more of a wide-ranging list of chronic conditions (such as high blood pressure, arthritis, back problems and diabetes). This compares with 37% of seniors aged 80 and older.
Source: "Health-promoting factors and good health among Canadians in mid- to late life," Health Reports, July 21, 2010.
- 45.4% — The proportion of seniors in 2013 who reported their health to be very good or excellent.
- 89.3% — The proportion of seniors in 2013 who reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with life.
- 6.6% — The proportion of seniors in 2013 who reported a mood disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, mania or dysthymia.
Source: CANSIM, table 105-0501.
- 63.7% — The proportion of seniors who reported that they were injured in a fall in 2009.
Source: "Activity-limiting Injuries, 2009," Health Fact Sheets.
- 24% — The proportion of Canadians aged 65 and older in 2012 who had unmet home care needs.
Source: "Study: Canadians with unmet home care needs, 2012," The Daily, Tuesday, September 9, 2014.
As the number of seniors increases, the need for home care is expected to rise. Home care can help to maintain seniors' health, independence and quality of life.
- 1 in 4 — The proportion of Canadian seniors, aged 75 and over, who received help at home in 2012. Younger seniors, aged 65 to 74, represented 13% of care receivers, a proportion similar to that of Canadians aged 55 to 64.
Source: "Study: Receiving care at home, 2012," The Daily, Friday, June 13, 2014.
See also: "Study: Caregivers in Canada, 2012," The Daily, Tuesday, September 10, 2013; "Seniors' use of and unmet needs for home care, 2009," Health Reports, December 2012.
Although seniors volunteer at a lower rate than the population as a whole, those seniors who do volunteer give many more hours on average than other age groups.
- 223 hours — The average number of hours that seniors volunteered in 2010, compared with 167 hours for the 45 to 54 age group and 130 hours for the 15 to 24 age group.
Labour force participation of seniors
- 25.5% — The labour force participation rate for 65- to-69-year-olds in 2013.
- 15.5% — The labour force participation rate for 65- to-69-year-olds in 2003.
- 416,300 — The number of 65- to-69-year-olds who were employed in 2013.
- 167,000 — The number of 65- to-69-year-olds who were employed in 2003.
- 6.7% — The labour force participation rate for persons 70 years and over in 2013.
- 4.1% — The labour force participation rate for persons 70 years and over in 2003.
- 218,000 — The number of persons 70 years and over who were employed in 2013.
- 105,700 — The number of persons 70 years and over who were employed in 2003.
Source: CANSIM, table 282-0002.
In the 1970s, there were seven working-age Canadians for every person over the age of 65. In 1981, there were roughly six persons in the working age group for each person over the age of 65. There are currently four working-age Canadians per senior and in 2031 there will be two.
Source: "Study: Projected trends to 2031 for the Canadian labour force," The Daily, Wednesday, August 17, 2011.
See also: "Study: Years to retirement, 1998 to 2009," The Daily, Tuesday, December 4, 2012.
- 92.1% — The proportion of seniors who lived in a private household in Canada in 2011.
- 7.9% — The proportion of seniors who lived in collective dwellings (such as residences for senior citizens or health care and related facilities) in Canada in 2011.
A higher share of seniors aged 65 and over lived as part of a couple in a private household in 2011 compared with 2001.
During the same period, the proportion of senior women who lived alone declined, while the proportion of senior men who lived alone remained relatively stable.
Seniors on the Internet
In recent years, older Canadians have increased their Internet usage and are closing the gap separating them from younger Canadians. However, older Canadians do not use the Internet as much for their consumption of some cultural items, namely music listening and video viewing.
- 60% — The proportion of people aged 65 to 74 who had used the Internet in 2010.
- 29% — The proportion of people aged 75 and over who had used the Internet in 2010.
- 10% — The proportion of people aged 65 to 74 who listened to music downloaded from the Internet on a weekly basis in 2010. In comparison, 87% of 15- to 24-year-olds listened to downloaded music at least once a week.
Source: "Consumption of culture by older Canadians on the Internet," Insights on Canadian Society, January 2013.
- 3.25 million — The number of people aged 65 and over in Canada in 2009 who had a driver's licence.
- 200,000 — The number of people aged 85 and over in Canada in 2009 who had a driver's licence.
- 68% — The proportion of seniors aged 65 to 74 who reported that their main form of transportation was driving their own vehicle. Less than 6% used public transit and 3% walked or used a bicycle.
Source: "Study: Profile of seniors' transportation habits," The Daily, Monday, January 23, 2012.
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