Quebec: Residents among country's oldest

Globe and Mail Update
Tuesday, July 16 – Online Edition, Posted at 9:50 AM EST

Quebec is one of two provinces with the oldest population in Canada, Statistics Canada says.

Between 1991 and 2001, the median age of Quebec's population grew 4.6 years from 34.2 years to 38.8, the province's highest 10-year growth in median age this century, just barely faster than the 4.5-year increase of the previous decade.

The median age of Nova Scotia's population was also 38.8 years in 2001.

Median age is the point where exactly one half of the population is older, and the other half is younger.

In 2001, young people aged 19 and under accounted for only 24 per cent of Quebec's population, the lowest proportion in Canada. Individuals aged 20 to 64 made up 63 per cent; and seniors aged 65 and over made up 13 per cent.

Statistics Canada's 2001 census showed significant shifts among some age groups during the past 10 years. For example, the number of preschool children aged four and under declined 16 per cent from 445,340 to 375,765.

The number of elderly people aged 80 and over in Quebec rose 42 per cent, from 151,655 to 215,000. This population is projected to increase another 46 per cent in the next decade.

The province's workforce is also is increasingly made up of older people. The number of people aged 25 to 34 in the young working-age population declined 26 per cent during the past 10 years.

Meanwhile, the population aged 45 to 64 — the oldest working ages — increased by 29 per cent. This group is expected to gain another 21 per cent by 2011.

The 2001 census counted 3,704,635 women and 3,532,845 men in Quebec. Of these, 660 women and 130 men were aged 100 and over.

The census also showed that Trois-Rivières had the oldest population among the nation's 27 census metropolitan areas, taking over that spot from Victoria.

The median age of the population of each census metropolitan area in Quebec was above the national average of 37.6 years, except the Quebec part of Ottawa-Hull (36.5). With an increase in median age of only 1.9 years, the population of the census metropolitan area of Montréal aged the slowest in the past five years. Its median age was 37.9 years.

In addition, six of the 25 oldest municipalities with populations of 5,000 or more were in Quebec. The municipality with the oldest population was Côte-Saint-Luc with a median age of 50.5 years.

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