Mythbuster: The aging population (external - login to view)
By Sam Cooper, The Province October 16, 2011
The confidential federal government report “Canada’s Changing Demographics: The Impacts of Population Aging” listed several myths that need to be shot down in order to understand the changes that have just started to be unleashed in Canada and across the world.
Myth: Population aging is just about people getting older.
Fact: It is a change in population age structure, so that the share of older persons grows while the share of younger persons shrinks. Longer lifespans contribute, but lower fertility is the main driver.
Myth: In Canada, aging will end with the passing of the baby boom.
Fact: While the baby boom will contribute to the rapid speed of population aging over the next 20 years, population aging is likely to continue. In 2061, when the youngest surviving boomers will be 95, Canada will still have 25 per cent seniors, compared to 14 per cent in 2009.
Myth: Canada can reverse population aging through immigration.
Fact: Immigration rates would need to more than double and potentially quintuple to maintain current age-population “dependency ratios.”
Myth: Aging is just a trend in developed countries.
Fact: By 2050, populations in developing countries will be aging so rapidly they are likely to have the same proportion of seniors as developed countries do today. These trends will impact geopolitics, the global economy and trade, and immigration, meaning a race will be on for countries to “get rich before getting old.”
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