Kamloops, Okanagan getting older but not nearly as old as Vancouver Island | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops, Okanagan getting older but not nearly as old as Vancouver Island

Seniors isolation is a growing problem, but some are finding ways to stay connected.
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Canada is getting older with 2.3% of its population, or more than 861,000 people, over the age of 85.

But they’re not distributed equally across the country.

Quebec has the highest proportion of residents over the age of 85.

While B.C. ranks fourth on that list, it has the oldest towns, according to data in a recent Statistics Canada release on the 2021 census.

Out of 737 Canadian municipalities with 5,000 or more residents, three Vancouver Island communities, Sydney, Duncan and Qualicum Beach, all have 9.3% of their residents over the age of 85, by far the highest ratio in the country.

Osoyoos ranks fourth on the B.C. list, at 6.7%.

The report doesn’t rank all 737 municipalities but, out of the five largest cities in the Thompson-Okanagan, Penticton is the oldest with 5.8% of its population over the age of 85, with 20 of those being over 100.

Vernon comes second on that list with 4.8% of its population over the age of 85. None are listed as being over 100.

The region’s newest municipality, West Kelowna, is the youngest at 2.5%, with five centenarians as of the May 11, 2021 census date.

In between are the region’s two largest cities.

Kelowna has 3.3% of its population over the age of 85, with 75 listed as over 100.

Kamloops is younger, with 2.8% over the age of 85 and 40 over 100.

The over 85 age group grew by 12% from 2016 to 2021, compared to 5.2% for Canada as a whole and is expected to grow even faster over the next 25 years as the baby boomer generation ages out.

READ MORE: Kelowna's population grows more than twice as fast as Kamloops: census

In the next 25 years, the number of people over the age of 85 is expected to grow from its current 861,000 to almost 2.5 million.

“Such rapid increases in the number of the oldest Canadians are explained by a combination of two things,” the Statistics Canada report says. “First, larger cohorts will reach the age of 85 starting in 2031 because the baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1965, are the largest generation in Canadian history. This generation was born after the Second World War when fertility levels were higher, almost reaching four children per woman. Second, life expectancy has been increasing over the past decades. It increased by almost seven years between 1980 and 2020 and is projected to continue to increase in the upcoming decades.”

The Statistics Canada release shows that there is a trend towards seniors preferring to live in the downtown cores of the country’s 41 larger urban centres.

“Much like young adults, older seniors are also living downtown,” the Statistics Canada release says. “Downtown areas tend to have more services and amenities, such as hospitals, long-term care and other housing types better adapted to the specific needs of older populations.”

Of the country’s largest urban areas, Gatineau, QC, has the highest proportion of its older population living downtown at 8.6%.

Kamloops is 13th on the list at 4.2% of those over 85 living downtown while the city as a whole has 2.8% of its population over the age of 85.

In Kelowna, that’s not the case. Only 3.1% of its population over the age of 85 is living downtown versus 3.3% in the city as a whole.

READ MORE: Kelowna one of the few places getting younger in the Thompson-Okanagan

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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