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Canada's population by age and sex

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As of July 1, 2008 (preliminary) (correction) (Previous release)

As of July 1, 2008, the median age of Canada's population was 39.4 years. Almost one Canadian out of seven (13.7%) is aged 65 and over, while 16.8% (correction) of the population is aged less than 15.

Although the Canadian population has been ageing since the end of the baby-boom, it still remains one of the youngest among the members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

At the provincial and territorial level, ageing has affected all areas, but at different rates. On average, the population is older east of Ontario and younger in the West and the North, British Columbia being the exception.

East of Ontario, all provinces have a median age above the national level, and the proportions of seniors (population aged 65 years and over) are among the highest in the country.

The Atlantic region has older populations, mainly as a result of lower fertility and migration outflows of young adults that have affected the region for a long period. Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest median age (42.5 years) and the lowest proportion of youth (population aged less than 15) in the country (15.0%).

Nova Scotia has the highest proportion of seniors (15.4%) in the country and, in fact, is the first province or territory to have more seniors than youth.

Quebec's median age and proportion of seniors are also above the national level. The province's recent surge in births should slow down its ageing process if the trend persists.

Ontario ranks among the youngest provinces, posting a median age below the national level and the second lowest proportion of seniors.

The population is younger in the three Prairie Provinces, notably as a result of higher fertility rates. Manitoba and Saskatchewan are the provinces with the highest proportions of youth (19.0%). Due also to strong migration inflows of young adults in the last decades, Alberta has both the lowest median age (35.7 years) and the lowest proportion of seniors (10.4%) among provinces.

British Columbia is the only province west of Quebec to post a median age above the national level. This is mainly due to the fact that the province has had one of the lowest fertility rates in the country for decades while having the highest life expectancy.

The youngest populations in Canada are still found in the North, mainly because of traditionally higher Aboriginal fertility rates and lower life expectancy. Nunavut has the youngest population of the country. While youth accounts for almost one-third of its population, seniors account for only 2.8%.

Note: These population estimates by age and sex are the first based on 2006 Census counts adjusted for census net undercoverage.

Available on CANSIM: tables 051-0001, 051-0002, 051-0011 to 051-0013 and 051-0041.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3604.

Data will be included in the Annual Demographic Statistics Compendium, 2007/2008 CD-ROM, which will be released over the course of summer 2009.

For more information, to order additional data, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-866-767-5611; 613-951-2320; fax: 613-951-2307;, Demography Division.

Table 1

Population, age distribution and median age by province and territory, as of July 1, 2008 
  Population 0 to 14 years 15 to 64 years 65 years and over Median age
  number % years
Canada 33,311,389 16.8 69.5 13.7 39.4
Newfoundland and Labrador 507,895 15.0 70.6 14.4 42.5
Prince Edward Island 139,818 16.7 68.2 15.1 41.3
Nova Scotia 938,310 15.2 69.4 15.4 42.2
New Brunswick 747,302 15.5 69.3 15.2 42.0
Quebec 7,750,504 15.9 69.5 14.6 41.0
Ontario 12,928,996 17.2 69.4 13.5 39.0
Manitoba 1,207,959 19.0 67.2 13.8 37.8
Saskatchewan 1,015,985 19.0 66.1 14.9 37.9
Alberta 3,585,142 18.3 71.3 10.4 35.7
British Columbia 4,381,603 15.7 69.8 14.5 40.5
Yukon 33,144 17.4 75.1 7.5 38.7
Northwest Territories 43,283 22.3 72.8 5.0 31.2
Nunavut 31,448 32.8 64.4 2.8 23.8