The Changing Face of Canadian Society
A recent Statistics Canada publication was the impetus for a look at a few insights into contemporary Canada.
Canada’s population now sits at 35.1 million, which represents an increase of 11 per cent over the 10-year period between 2003 and 2013. Every province has shared in this growth, though some more than others: Alberta takes the lead at 26.5 percent; British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario grew in the 10 to 11 per cent range; Quebec and Manitoba had growth of just under nine per cent; and at the low end are Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with population growth of under one per cent each. The cities of Edmonton and Calgary outpaced their peers, with growth of approximately 25 and 30 per cent, respectively, for the 10-year period ending in 2012.
There was a downward trend in the birth rate, with a decline of nearly 16 per cent during the 10-year period between 1992 and 2002; however, there was a substantial recovery in the subsequent 10 years, with nearly 384,000 births in 2012, just two per cent shy of the number 20 years earlier. We’re seeing a steady shift in the age at which women are choosing to have families, with a clear trend toward waiting much longer to have children. The number of births among 20-somethings decreased by nearly 28 per cent while births to women in their thirties increased by 31 per cent between 1991 and 2011. About 66 per cent of adults are in a married or common- law relationship, with about 28 per cent of them having been married before.
From a health perspective, about one-fifth of Canadians smoke, with the split between males and females at 23 and 17.5 per cent respectively. This is a fairly substantial segment of society. However, to counter this, about 55 per cent of individuals indicate they are physically active during leisure time, and about 40 per cent consume fruit and vegetables at least five times a day.
There has been a dramatic increase in life expectancy for Canadians over the 70-year period between 1941 and 2011. In 1941, life expectancy at birth was 66.3 for females and 63 for males. There has been a steady upward trend, with life expectancy rising to 83.6 for females and 79.3 for males in the period ending in 2011. The gap between males and females has widened, and now sits at an extra 4.3 years for females relative to males in 2011 compared with a difference of 3.3 years 70 years earlier.
Economically, median inflation-adjusted after-tax income has increased by 25 percent between 1991 and 2011, and now sits at $68,000. There are some very significant variances worthy of comment. The annual income for unattached elderly females and males is $23,000 and $27,800 respectively, compared with elderly families at $49,300.
About 66 per cent of Canadians own their dwelling, while 35 per cent rent. Of those who own, 31 per cent are mortgage- free. On average, Canadians spend about 21 per cent of their income on shelter, 15 per cent on transportation, 5.6 per cent on personal insurance payments and pension contributions, and five per cent on recreation.
Canadians are quite happy, with 92 per cent indicating they are either satisfied or very satisfied with their life overall, taking into account no differential between males and females.
E.O. & E.
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Contributors to this edition:
James W. Kraft, cpa, ca, mtax, tep, cfp, clu, ch.f.c.
Deborah Kraft, mtax, tep, cfp, clu, ch.f.c.