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The growing number of seniors in Canada’s big cities

By ATB Economics 15 January 2021 1 min read

New data from Statistics Canada on the country’s 35 Census Metropolitan Areas show that Calgary has the smallest proportion of seniors in its population.

At 12.6 per cent, the percentage of Calgarians aged 65 and older is well below the national big city average of 16.5 per cent.

That 12.6 per cent, by the way, works out to 195,127 seniors living in Calgary.

Edmonton is also relatively young with seniors representing 13.6 per cent (199,945) of its population. At 16.4 per cent (21,069), the proportion of seniors in the Lethbridge CMA is almost the same as the national big city average.

Trois-Rivières has the largest proportion of seniors at 24.3 per cent (39,719). The population of Canada’s largest urban area—Toronto—is home to almost one million seniors (999,737)—15.3 per cent of its population.

Our cities are growing older and will continue to do so. Twenty years ago, the proportion of seniors in the population was 8.8 per cent in Calgary, 10.4 per cent in Edmonton, and 13.7 per cent in Lethbridge. 

It’s always important when discussing the aging of Canada’s population to stress that a larger number of seniors is in no way a “problem” to be “solved.” A demographic trend like this presents both opportunities and challenges. For example, more seniors might mean a larger pool of experienced volunteers. At the same time, it might increase demand for assisted living services.

The trick is to plan ahead for the changes an aging population will bring.

*Alberta has three Census Metropolitan Areas (Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge). A CMA is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a population centre (known as the core). A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more must live in the core. To be included in the CMA, other adjacent municipalities must have a high degree of integration with the core, as measured by commuting flows derived from previous census place of work data.

Answer to the previous trivia question: The province with the largest proportion of total employment in the self-employment category in 2020 is British Columbia at 18.5 per cent.

Today’s trivia question: Which CMA posted the strongest annual population growth between 2019 and 2020? Hint: It’s home to a large number of Generals.

At 12.6 per cent, the percentage of Calgarians aged 65 and older is well below the national big city average of 16.5 per cent

At 12.6 per cent, the percentage of Calgarians aged 65 and older is well below the national big city average of 16.5 per cent


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