2016 marked the first Census year in Canadian history where more seniors were counted than children. Across Canada, fundamental changes in the population structure driven by low birthrates, longer life expectancies, and most notably, the aging baby boomers, are gaining momentum. In some parts of rural Canada, including the Columbia Basin-Boundary region, these trends are compounded by unique issues like the out-migration of youth and in-migration of retirees seeking the types of amenities that accompany rural living.
Demographic shifts have important consequences for our communities. Different age groups and household structures have different needs in terms of housing, services (e.g., health, education), employment, and consumption. A reduction in the number of working-age people can challenge economies because of the smaller tax base and larger number of residents living with fixed incomes. On the other hand, baby boomers are retiring with better health and more wealth than previous generations, meaning that traditional concepts of aging are also shifting. Rural communities across BC and Canada are grappling with these issues and positioning to capitalize on associated opportunities.
This research brief provides updated data related to age and sex for the Columbia Basin-Boundary region based on the 2016 Census. Data from BC Stats is also discussed in the section on population projections. Various geographies are addressed, including census subdivisions (municipalities, regional district electoral areas, and Indian reserves), local health areas, and development regions. Comparisons to figures for British Columbia (BC) and Canada are also included.