2016 Census results reveal the greying of the South Okanagan

Seniors make up 42.9 per cent of the the South Okanagan town of Osoyoos, the latest Statistics Canada Census figures show. The trend is similar amongst all four large centres in the Thompson- Okanagan.
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PENTICTON - Recently released census information from Statistics Canada shows the South Okanagan's municipalities are top heavy with seniors.

The percentage of Penticton’s population of 65 and older is closing in on 30 per cent, at 29.8 per cent, with the average age in the city sitting at 49.1 years.

Youth numbers don’t even make up 20 per cent of the population, with Penticton’s 0 - 14 population at 11.7 per cent.

Those numbers compare to Canada wide figures of 16.9 per cent for ages 65 and over, and 16.6 per cent for those in the 0 to 15 year old age category.

Provincially, the numbers are 18.3 per cent for those 65 and over, and 14.9 per cent for those in the 0 to 14 age group.

The greying of the Okanagan was also on the minds of regional district directors recently.

The implications of a high senior population in the valley and how to plan for the future were topics of discussion for members of the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board of directors May 4.

Area D Director Tom Siddon noted the Okanagan traditionally welcomed seniors, and local governments were implementing age friendly programs. He also acknowledged the need in the valley for permanent jobs to attract families.

Oliver rural Director Terry Schafer said hospitals and schools were going to be looming issues in the future, while Penticton Director Judy Sentes noted it was the provincial government’s intention not to fund any more hospitals.

Regional District Chair Karla Kozackevich said the provincial focus was on more home care for seniors, adding the type of care in hospitals was undergoing change.

South of Penticton, numbers are even greyer, with 36.3 per cent of Oliver’s population in the 65 and over category, and an average age of 51.4.

Only 12.4 per cent of the population is in the 0 to 14 year old range.

In Osoyoos, 42.9 per cent of the population is 65 and over, while 8.9 per cent are 0 to 14 years old. The average age in the town is 55.4 years.

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