Population and Demographic Trends

Interactive Population Pyramid

Canadian Population Pyramid

About two to three weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Virox Future Forum at my school Sheridan College.  One of the presenters was David Foot, Professor Emeritus of Economics at UofT. He premised his presentation with a video by Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years in 4 minutes. David Foot explains demographic trends with population pyramids and times facts to national events through history. David also explained trends based on life stages. Such as in your 20s you typically would be borrowing money for school, for a car, incurring debt while trying to establish a career into your 30s. In your 30s – 40s you typically are starting a family, you’ve paid off debt from school and car, you may have a mortgage on a home where you now have kids. And kids cost quite a bit, so you can’t start saving for retirement quite yet. When you’re in your 50s and 60s, kids are starting to leave the house, but now the pet’s a little older and requires vet care. In addition to that, your back is starting to go so you have physiotherapy, you go to a chiropractor as well.

Canada Population 1901 – 1911

  • Drop of Males 10-19
    • Between 1901 and 1911 the 2nd line to the CPR was being built using child labour and immigrant workers.

Canada Population 1911-1921

  • Drop of Males
    • 1914 WWI begins and men raced off to fight


  • Low fertility rate
    • Approaching depression, resources scarce
    • Not enough men to make babiess


  • Life expectancy aprox. 65
  • Another drop of Males
    • WWII and men again race off to fight


  • Soaring fertility rates as men return from war
    • Baby boomer generation begins


  • Baby boomers were teenagers, borrowing for school and cars driving interest rates and laying the foundation for debt.
  • Teenagers enjoy entertainment, music etc. this led to the growth of rock and roll, cities like Toronto saw tremendous growth.
  • Cities saw such growth that the government developed the Ontario Downtown Renewal program and built several shopping malls including Eaton’s Center


  • Lower fertility rate
    • 1960’s is when birth control was introduced to market, women were more educated on contraceptives.

Keep an eye on the 25-55 section as we begin to move through the decades.


  • Boomers are in their 30s and begin having children
    • Consequently they moved out of the cities and into the suburbs leading to the suburban sprawls of Mississauga, Oakville etc.
    • They just paid off their loans for school and car. Just established a career. Just took out a mortgage for the house and on top of that is now rearing children (which also costs a lot). This didn’t leave a lot of disposable income to eat nice dinners outside the home leading to the growth of fast food chains with take-out and delivery. Chains such as Pizza Pizza were seen as the best alternative to eating out.

Millennium – now
Life expectancy is now 85+ and quality of life is better than ever, yet there is a glaring amount of youths that are unemployed.

  • Youth Unemployment and Peak of Secondary School enrollments
    In the workplace is fairly diverse where there are many seniors and lower level entry workers. Workers no longer retire at age 63, boomers want to keep working, 7 in 10 Canadians plan to keep working during retirement (Globe&Mail). There are so many people in the work system, the older generation is not clearing out the work system leaving youths no jobs leading to the great need of job creation.

This in turn is also leading to the peak of secondary school enrollments. Not only the youth generation is going to school, but they’re seeing a higher rate of mature students seeking a second career as well.

  • Zoomers
    Life expectancy before the 1940s was a lot lower, around 60-70 yrs, people were older faster than now. Life expectancy now is 85+ where people feel younger at age 60 than what their parents felt at age 60. Boomers age 50-60 feel like they’re 30-40, they feel younger than their parents, their kids have already left the nest and now they want to not only feel young again but want to actually go out and do stuff.  This has led to the new demographic sector that was once called Boomers to Zoomers. They are fun, enthusiastic active people.
  • Health Care Crisis
    Looking at the population pyramid…there are an awful lot of older people aren’t there? In fact, there are more people over the age of 40 than there are people younger than 40. And when people start to get older, they start to break down. Arthritis hits, spinal damage, pharmaceuticals to ease pain etc. Consequently there aren’t enough younger people to pay taxes to support the older people in the health care system. The real crisis is only yet to come because boomers are still only just 50-60, they’re starting to break down, but are not quite yet there. The next 15-20 years in the health care system will be quite interesting if developments are not made soon.
    We have seen some developments in patient management systems, such as digitalized patient files and systems modernization. This is only the beginning, and further updates are still yet to be made as technology becomes more accessible and affordable.
  • Travel Market
    Boomers have already paid off debts for school and cars long ago and already finished paying off their mortgage. There is more disposable income in their pockets than ever. The growth in the travel market is from more and more boomers that are travelling, either with themselves or with their families.

Around the World – use with populationpyramids.net to view population pyramids of the following countries from 1950-2050

  • China
    The one child policy wasn’t introduced in China until 1979, obviously leading to significantly lower fertility rate. However since there is a lower fertility rate, there are less people and therefore less workers. China’s growth isn’t going to come from labour work because they’re going to be seeing labour shortages, leading to higher wages and higher per capita income. Ultimately leading to rise of the middle class

  • India
    Having no-child cap here has lead to a pyramid with a large base of youth is driving education and technology.  The issues in the future will be if there will be enough jobs to sustain the growing population of youths.

  • North America
    Low fertility rates means less people in the workforce in the future. Higher immigration rates offset those who are not having children. If immigration rates don’t rise, there will be less people in the workforce and less people paying taxes to support the health care system for aging boomers.Specifically fertility in the US, caucasians: 1.9/woman, Latino: 2.9/woman, African American: 2.7/woman.
    Latin communities are growing due to the higher fertility rates leading to more commercials and ads in those communities to be in both English and SpanishMiddle East – Syria, Egypt, Algeria etcToday, we see opinions online in social media through tweets and Facebook status updates. We also see more people talking about political opinions on the street.

  • Middle East – Syria, Egypt, Algeria etc.
    Today, we see opinions online in social media through tweets and Facebook status updates. We also see more people talking about political opinions on the street.  Looking at the population pyramids in the present middles-east, we can see that there is a large bulge in the young population 20-29, more than there are adults 45+. They were all technologically savvy young adults who heavily relied on social media and tech communications to organize rallies and protests against their countries politics.

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