Canada population figures show extent of demographic time-bomb
Population statistics released this week have shown that immigration will be key to Canada's future economic fortunes.
The country was startled by figures which showed that its proportion of over-65 residents had grown by more than 14 per cent in the past five years – more than twice as quickly as the country's population as a whole.
The Wall Street Journal noted that this was in stark contrast to the rate of growth among the under-14s, which was just 0.5 per cent between 2006 and 2011.
Over-65s have become a much higher proportion of the population in the Atlantic states of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec, where they now make up nearly 15 per cent of the total population.
Statistics Canada, the body which compiled the figures, said: "As the baby boomers [people born in the late-1940s and 1950s] turn 65 in coming years, population aging will accelerate and the share of the working age population will decrease."
Its figures showed that, for the first time ever, 55-65 year-olds outnumbered those aged 15 to 24.
The figures were released shortly after Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the government needed to make "transformations" to the country's economic structure to be ready for the demographic changes facing it.
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