Comparison of aging in Québec and in OECD countries: Québec’s baby boom will continue to leave its mark

Québec, June 2, 2015 – The mark of Québec baby boomers on the age pyramid is clearly visible when population aging in Québec is compared to that in the 34 OECD countries. According to an article published today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec in the bulletin Données sociodémographiques en bref, the aging of the baby boomer generation will lead to a steep increase in the share of seniors over the 2010-2030 period. Although this increase will generally be slower in OECD countries, some of them will ultimately reach a higher share of seniors than Québec.

It must be noted that Québec’s baby boom was more pronounced than elsewhere and was followed by a sharp decline in fertility. Due to the ensuing large number of baby boomers, Québec long had one of the largest proportions of people of working age (20-64 year-olds) among OECD countries. However, since 2011, baby boomers have begun entering the 65 or older group, causing a rapid increase in the proportion of seniors, and at the same time, a quick drop in the share of 20 to 64 year-olds. By 2030, the share of seniors in the Québec population should therefore be one of the highest among OECD countries, while that of 20 to 64 year olds should be among the lowest.

After 2030, the share of seniors should increase more slowly in Québec, while continuing to grow rapidly in other countries. Therefore, over the very long term, population aging should be more pronounced in several countries than in Québec, so that by 2050, the province may fall somewhere in the middle of OECD countries in terms of aging indicators. Québec should remain younger than countries with very low fertility and low immigration rates (for example Japan, South Korea and Spain).

Profound demographic changes will result from the aging of baby boomers, as was the case when they inflated the number of youth and, later, when they massively entered the labour market. Apart from the strictly demographic aspect, other socio-economic elements are also relevant when comparing aging outlooks and their consequences, such as population health, labour force participation, and retirement funding systems.

The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyses and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is the statistical coordinator for Québec and the relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.


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