Age gap: Alberta bucks trend of aging Canadian population

Phoenix Knowler doesn’t give his mom much down time.

He’s two years old and is happy to spend all day at the playground, the same as his two brothers.

“It’s very busy and you’re working full time and feel pulled in three different directions,” says his mother, Cristina Valkoczi, “but it’s joyful at the same time.”

With three children, Valkoczi is an outlier in Canada, where – on average – a woman will have 1.4 children.

That historically low number is causing concerns about who will keep the country running and working over the next several decades.

Currently, there are 81 Canadians between the ages of 15 and 24 for every 100 between the ages of 55 and 64.

Fifty years ago, it was 200 for every 100.

“By 2052, this population 85 and over could be three million Canadians,” says Laurent Martel, with Statistics Canada, “We’re getting closer now to one million so the 85-plus population could triple over the next two decades.”

With three children, Calgarian Cristina Valkoczi is an outlier in Canada, where – on average – a woman will have 1.4 children.

That means fewer younger people working and more aging people needing care.

DIFFERENT STORY ON PRAIRIES

In Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba there are more people under the age of 15 than over the age of 65 – and that rate should hold true for at least another decade, mainly because of the higher fertility rate.

However, just because young people are living here now, doesn’t meant they’ll  stay here.

“If you start to look at a young person who is starting to get into work, your issues are about affordability, getting into the housing market and starting a family, “says Anil Aroma, with Statistics Canada, “Those issue are going to be front and centre for what life looks like for you.”

Valkoczi says she hopes her sons eventually get an affordable education and good paying jobs. She just doesn’t know where that will be.

“Alberta is very expensive and the cost of living is going up tremendously and the wages are not,” she says ,” I really don’t think its going to improve anywhere else to be honest, I think the cost of living is going up all over the world.”

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