canada population

Canada's population could nearly double over the next 50 years

A new report from Statistics Canada suggests that immigration will continue to boost the country's population in coming decades, to the tune of roughly 70 million people by 2068 under a high-growth scenario.

Released on Tuesday, the analysis is described by federal government scientists as an investigation into "how the Canadian population might evolve in the years ahead."

It's not a clear-cut look at the future — such a thing would be impossible, as StatsCan readily admits, hence the wide discrepancy in its 2068 population scenarios.

"Statistics Canada has been publishing demographic projections for Canada, the provinces and the territories approximately every five years, following the census cycle, for more than 45 years," explains the report's cover page.

"The results are based on the latest population estimates and on assumptions that reflect past demographic trends and the opinions of demography experts."

Based on all available data and expertise, scientists describe three potential growth scenarios: Under a low-growth scenario, Canada's population would increase from 37.1 million (as of 2018) to 44.4 million by 2068.

A medium-growth scenario would see the population grow to 55.2 million inhabitants over the next five decades, while a high-growth scenario would put our population at around 70.2 million.

Regardless of how many people are in it, Canada's population is expected to look wildly different from a demographic standpoint in 50 years, chiefly in terms of age distribution.

StatsCan notes that, while (low) birth and (sky-high) immigration rates have remained relatively stable since 2000, "the population is actually undergoing significant changes which are likely to have profound, lasting effects on Canadian society."

"The aging of the baby-boom cohort will have many repercussions as this cohort reaches the ages that generally separate working life from retirement," reads the report.

"Sustained immigration paired with constant low fertility is leading to rapid diversification of the Canadian population."

Essentially, the number of elderly Canadians is poised to explode, regardless of the population growth scenario.

Canada could see as many as 5.5 million people aged 80 or older by 2068 under a medium-growth scenario, compared to 1.6 million as of 2018.

In fact, people over the age of 100 are expected to be the fastest-growing demographic in the country between 2018 and 2068 (though, at less than 0.2 per cent, they'd still represent a very small share of the population.)

"Driven by the baby boomers reaching age 100 and increasing life expectancy, the number of centenarians (people who are aged 100 or older) in Canada would peak at 90,200 people in 2065 according to the medium-growth scenario, compared with 10,000 people in 2018," reads a release accompanying today's report.

And when they all die off, it'll be newcomers and their children who will sustain Canada's population growth.

"The number of non-permanent residents is growing, and access to permanent immigration is being made easier for them," reads the report.

"In all scenarios, migratory increase would be the main driver of population growth at the national level, continuing a pattern that began in the early 1990s."

Lead photo by

Sanjin Avdicevic

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