Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | June 2, 2010

Call me Senior

I remember at the age of 30 yrs, thinking how old my parents were at 60 and how they were planning their retirement. Now that I’m 60 plus; other than a few too many aches and pains; I don’t feel as old as I remember them to be.

Stats Canada has recently released a report that states, seniors will outnumber children in B.C. aged 15 yrs and under within two years (2012). The first question you have to ask yourself is, “Who is going to fill all these jobs that we are vacating”.

The latest figures show B.C.’s population will swell from 4.5 million now to between 5.8 million and 7.1 million by 2036. And the rate of growth of seniors is expected to be particularly strong yet significantly faster than the pace of the rest of the country. On the national level, those over 65 are not predicted to surpass those 15 and under until 2021. (Quite a difference.)

Statistics Canada report shows the proportion of seniors in B.C. aged 65 and up will climb from 15 to 24 per cent by 2036.  (Hopefully I will still be around to see if their predictions are right.)

Urban Futures demographer Andrew Ramlo said the “dramatic growth of senior population here isn’t a surprise. It’s a warm place to live and you don’t have to shovel the rain.”

Many seniors will relocate to the Lower Mainland, he said, but added they will be in part offset by the “equity refugees” who will cash out of expensive Lower Mainland real estate to fund their retirement in less expensive homes in the Interior and on Vancouver Island.

The demographic shift has big implications on everything from health-care provision to urban design and the accessibility of the transit system.

Ramlo says the retirement of growing numbers of baby boomers in the next few years will mean plenty of opportunity for newer employees entering the workforce. Companies may struggle however to replace retirees.

“If you’re an employer, you’re going to have an historically challenging time recruiting younger folk into your organization.”

Since the Lower Mainland is expected to continue to make up about 52 per cent of B.C.’s population, the region should grow from about 2.2 million now to between 3 and 3.7 million.


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