The population of Canada is projected to age significantly over the coming decades. Increasing life expectancies, the aging of the baby boomers, and low fertility rates are the predominant factors that will contribute to the increase in the proportion of the elderly. As a result, the population at ages 65 and over is expected to increase significantly over the next 30 years. Older age groups will experience even higher rates of growth.
Prospects of longer life are viewed as a positive change for individuals and a substantial social achievement, but often lead to concern over their implications for public spending on old age support. The projected cost of public pensions in Canada is directly linked to the expected growth in the elderly population. In turn, the growth in the elderly population depends on how current mortality will evolve over the long term. The projection of mortality thus becomes a key element of any population projection.
The purpose of this report is to present an overview of the methodology and assumptions used by the Office of the Chief Actuary (OCA) for projecting the mortality component of the population projections that are in turn used to project the long-term financial status of the Canada’s Old Age Security (OAS) Program and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
- The chance of a newborn reaching age 65 has significantly increased over time, going from 57% in 1925 to 87% in 2010 for males, and from 60% to 91% for females over the same period. By 2075, it is projected that 93% of male newborns and 95% of female newborns will reach age 65.
- Over the recent 30 years from 1979 to 2009, increases in life expectancy in Canada have been largely due to the reduction of mortality rates after age 65, as a result of a decrease of deaths caused by diseases of the heart. Over the same period, malignant neoplasms surpassed diseases of the heart to become the most important cause of death among those aged 65 and older.
- Over the last decade in Canada, life expectancy at age 65 increased by two years, a rate of growth of about twice of what has been observed over each of the previous decades since 1929. It is further projected to increase from 21 to 24 years for men and from 23 to 26 years for women by 2075. This means that Canadians are expected to live beyond age 90 on average in the future.
- Life expectancies at birth of Canadians are projected to increase from 86 to 90 for men and from 89 to 93 for women over the period of 2013 to 2075.
- Currently, five out of ten Canadians aged 20 are expected to reach age 90, while only one out of ten is expected to live to 100.
- A life expectancy at birth of 100 years would be possible if no one died until one’s late nineties, and if the same mortality rates at advanced ages as those experienced in 2009 applied.
- If mortality rates continue to decrease at the same rate as experienced over the last 15 years, a life expectancy at birth of 100 could be reached in 2094 for men and in 2121 for women. In addition, male life expectancy could exceed that of females from 2026 onward.
- It is expected that Canada will continue to have one of the highest life expectancies of the world along with Japan, France, Switzerland, Italy and Australia.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Mortality Projections for Social Security Programs in Canada
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