Population Change and Lifecourse

2015 Archives - Cluster members in the media

December 22, 2015 - Innovation.ca
Three researchers’ perspectives on Syrian refugees: Calling small-town Canada home

December 22, 2015 - INNOVATION.CA
Three researchers’ perspectives on Syrian refugees: Calling small-town Canada home
by Sharon Oosthoek

Rural communities often have a hard time keeping newcomers from relocating to larger cities. Western University’s Michael Haan has suggestions for how to make them stay.

When the previous government axed the mandatory long-form census in 2010, it eliminated an important source of information to help explain why immigrants make the location choices they do. “Some of the groups least likely to respond to the voluntary survey are newcomers, poor people and those who move a lot,” says Western University immigration researcher Michael Haan. “These are the people I’m most interested in.” So Haan found an even richer vein of data: mandatory tax records. When an immigrant comes to Canada, they must provide information about their intended occupation, level of education, family and age. Statistics Canada links this to tax records, which detail place of residence and annual income. ...

December 22, 2015 - Innovation.ca
Three researchers’ perspectives on Syrian refugees: Keeping up with Canadians

December 22, 2015 - INNOVATION.CA
Three researchers’ perspectives on Syrian refugees: Keeping up with Canadians
by Sharon Oosthoek

Over the decades, it has become harder for new immigrants to match the earnings of Canadian-born workers. Western University’s Roderic Beaujot offers part of the explanation.

Once upon a time, immigrants to Canada had average incomes that — after a period of settling in — compared favourably to Canadian-born workers. But starting with those who arrived in the late 1970s, that catch-up in average income largely disappeared, says Western University demographer Roderic Beaujot. His work with Canadian census data suggests some explanations for this change, and may help policy-makers better understand how Syrian refugees might fare. The initial post-war waves of immigrants came to this country at a time when Canada's education system was not as developed as it is now. These immigrants were often from Europe and were on average better educated than those born in Canada. They eventually secured well-paying jobs and helped to build a stronger human resource base. ...

November 13, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
The next boomer shift? Our policy assumptions

November 13, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
The next boomer shift? Our policy assumptions
Contributed to the Globe and Mail by Peter Hicks

What economic impact will Canada’s baby boomers have as they move into old age? The question posed by this week’s series is especially pertinent, since the new federal government will soon be looking at options for pension reform.

There is a widely held view among economists and demographers that population aging has largely negative consequences, yet recent studies come to very different conclusions. The accepted wisdom is rooted in analysis from the 1990s. The thought then was that population aging, together with trends toward earlier retirement, would eventually cause serious problems in a number of areas: unsustainable health costs, labour shortages, massive increases in old-age transfers and entitlements.

That narrative, though still widely accepted, is no longer supported by the evidence. Beginning in the mid-1990s, the trend toward earlier retirement began to reverse. There has been a steady and dramatic increase in employment rates among people in their 60s; nearly one-third of men and one-fifth of women now continue working between 65 and 69. The length of working lives for people over 50 has increased, while the average length of retirement has remained stable, despite increasing longevity. ...

November 5, 2015 - Science Insider
Updated: Canada reinstates mandatory census, to delight of social scientists

November 5, 2015 - Science Insider
Updated: Canada reinstates mandatory census, to delight of social scientists
by Brian Owens

The new Canadian government today announced it would restore the country’s mandatory long-form census. "Our plan for open and fair government starts today with restoring the long-form census," said Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development, speaking in Ottawa alongside Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of families, children, and social development. "We're focused on good evidence-based policies." ...

The voluntary survey had a much lower response rate—68% versus more than 90% for the previous mandatory questionnaire—making the data collected of much lower quality. Voluntary surveys also tend to exacerbate sampling bias. Response rates are lower among certain groups, including immigrant populations, aboriginals, and low-income families. When it released the results in 2013, Statistics Canada (StatsCan) included a disclaimer that researchers should be cautious when comparing the survey with previous census data.

Social scientists took that warning seriously. “I haven’t seen people using data from the survey in their research,” says Miles Corak, an economist at the University of Ottawa and former StatsCan employee. “I stop at 2006 for my own work, and haven’t even made the effort to check if the survey data are valid.” Corak predicts that researchers will probably just skip the 2011 survey if the government reinstates the mandatory long form, or include it with the caveat that the information cannot be trusted. ...

November 3, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
Taxing Canada’s top 1 per cent raises questions about tackling inequality

November 3, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
Taxing Canada’s top 1 per cent raises questions about tackling inequality
by Bill Curry

The new Liberal government is counting on the 264,030 taxpayers who make up Canada’s top 1 per cent to help fund billions in campaign promises, but policy experts say taxing the rich raises complex issues. A new report from Statistics Canada released on the eve of Wednesday’s swearing-in of the Liberal cabinet provides a detailed look at the country’s top 1 per cent. The small group is a big source of federal revenue, contributing more than 20 per cent of all income tax collected. Canada’s rich may be getting a little richer, but their income growth of 1.2 per cent between 2012 and 2013 was in line with the growth of all other tax filers. ...

Former Statscan assistant chief statistician Michael Wolfson, who is a professor at the University of Ottawa, has produced research showing the top 1 per cent actually earn more than it appears when income from their small businesses is taken into account. Prof. Wolfson said doctors and dentists are among the most common types of small business and he suggests the new government should take a closer look at how these and other professionals are using the small-business tax break to split income among family members. He estimates tighter rules could raise about $500-million in tax revenue.

October 21, 2015 - Daily Brew: Canada News
Trudeau urged to reinstate long-form census

October 21, 2015 - Daily Brew: Canada News
Trudeau urged to reinstate long-form census
by Kate Bueckert

Researchers are calling on the federal Liberals to make good on a campaign promise and reinstate the mandatory long-form census as soon as they take office.

“They have to act now. They cannot wait. Time is of the essence,” said Don Kerr, a sociology professor at King’s University College at Western University in London, Ont. Kerr, who worked at Statistics Canada for 10 years, said it is possible to have the mandatory long-form census in place by May 10, 2016, the official census day. “The level of expertise at Stats Canada is enormous and if anyone can pull it off, it’s Stats Canada that could pull it off,” Kerr said. He added, “I would be surprised if they didn’t have contingency plans” to bring the long-form census back. ... "

Susan McDaniel, a member of the National Statistics Council and a director at the Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy at the University of Lethbridge, said the decision to go back to the long-form census must be done by mid-November. “It’s a huge undertaking, there’s a lot of preparatory work,” she said. “The window of opportunity for Statistics Canada to gear up and go back and create again the long-form census for 2016 from the National Household Survey is very short.” ...

October 21, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
Long-form census could be reinstated for 2016, experts say

October 21, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
Long-form census could be reinstated for 2016, experts say
by Tavia Grant, The Globe and Mail

"Restoring the mandatory long-form census in time for the 2016 survey is doable, say two former chief statisticians of Statistics Canada, but the incoming Liberal government will have to move swiftly to make it happen. The return of the long form, promised by Justin Trudeau during the election campaign, would yield vastly more reliable data and cost less than running another national household survey, the former heads of the agency say. ... "

Researchers are already pressing for action. “Undoing these mistakes cannot wait; the time for action is now as Statistics Canada is on the cusp of launching the 2016 census,” says a letter signed this week by 61 academics and directors of research centres, including Statscan’s former assistant director Alain Bélanger. Issuing an immediate order in council “is the only way to implement the long form in time for the census six months from now,” they said. “This must be one of the first moves made ​​by the Liberal government of Mr. Trudeau. It would mark a clear break with the previous government and ensure that future social policies can be made on scientific grounds rather than ideological dogmatism.” ...

September 29, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
Canada shows its age as seniors outnumber children for first time

September 29, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
Canada shows its age as seniors outnumber children for first time
by Eric Andrew-Gee, The Globe and Mail

"Canada has reached a milestone on its path, shared by the rest of the industrialized West, toward a much older population: The country now contains more seniors than children. The finding, released by Statistics Canada on Tuesday, is stark: 16 per cent of Canadians were 14 or younger as of July 1, while 16.1 per cent were 65 or older.The news has been greeted by researchers with some anxiety but also a surprising dose of optimism. They point out that while health-care bills and pension liabilities will rise as baby boomers enter their senescence, this generation of seniors is richer and fitter than any before it, and that Canada still has time to adjust to its new demographic reality. ... "

Meanwhile, the stress imposed on the health-care system by today’s old people is generally overstated, argues Susan McDaniel, the Canada Research Chair in Global Population and Life Course. She described the “rectangularization” of life expectancy, in which “we live fine to a very ripe old age, and then we die very quickly.” ...

While that is something to be celebrated, it also means that painful, not to say costly, chronic illnesses last longer now.By 2036, it’s expected that 40 per cent of Canadians will live to the age of 90, said Roderic Beaujot, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Western Ontario. “People speak of the oldest old – people 85 and over. That group is growing fast and will grow even faster,” he added. ...

September 18, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
The Middle Class: Just who are they, anyway

September 18, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
The Middle Class: Just Who are They, Anyway
by Erin Anderssen, The Globe and Mail

"Depending on which party leader is speaking, which report you’re reading and which generational comparisons you’re making, Canada’s middle class is fretting anxiously over bills at the kitchen table, or growing wealth like weeds in their increasingly valuable suburban backyards.The definition of “middle class” is conveniently malleable, and, hence, inspired campaign strategy. (They’re talking about us!) Nearly every campaign promise – from the New Democrats’ $15-a-day child care to the Conservatives’ increased benefits for education-savings plans and the Liberal promise to lower the middle-income tax bracket – is targeted to the average working Canadian family, especially the one with kids. ... "

The trends in middle incomes, as University of Ottawa economist Miles Corak points out, also depend on where you’re looking. Incomes have barely budged in Quebec, and slipped in Ontario – the two provinces where most Canadians live. What fuelled the national increase were resource-rich Alberta, Newfoundland and Saskatchewan – the upswing that The New York Times captured. Now that oil prices have bottomed out, those provinces aren’t so steady behind the wheel.

July 14, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
Statscan takes criticism for cutting funding to LifePaths database

July 14, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
Statscan takes criticism for cutting funding to LifePaths database
by Janet McFarland, The Globe and Mail

"Former Statistics Canada official Michael Wolfson is criticizing the agency’s decision to stop funding its LifePaths database, saying the program has been essential for researching the long-term impacts of policy decisions. Mr. Wolfson, a professor at the University of Ottawa who was previously assistant chief statistician at Statistics Canada, has written a new paper on retirement adequacy, which includes comments about his disappointment over the decision to cut funding to the LifePaths database, which he has used in his own work on retirement income. “As a result, discussion of multibillion-dollar policies – discussions that could be informed by far smaller investments in statistical infrastructure – can now be pursued in ignorance,” he writes. ..."

June 25, 2015 - TVO
The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Canada's Changing Demographics

June 25, 2015
The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Canada's Changing Demographics

Demographers point to the difficulty of achieving work/family life balance as one of the reasons Canadians are having fewer or no children. With Canada's fertility rate hovering around 1.6, and Ontario's at 1.5, what are governments and policy-makers doing to address Canada's aging population and low replacement rate.

Steve Paikin interviews Roderic Beaujot, Professor Emeritus, Western University

le 20 juin 2015 - LA PRESSE.CA
Retraite à 67 ans: rangez les forceps

le 20 juin 2015
Retraite à 67 ans: rangez les forceps
par Stéphanie Grammond, La Presse

Je suis la première à dire qu'il faudra travailler plus longtemps puisqu'on vit plus vieux. Mais je ne crois pas qu'il soit nécessaire de sortir les forceps pour obliger les travailleurs à prendre leur retraite plus tard. D'abord, ce n'est pas nécessaire. Et puis, le report de l'âge officiel de la retraite de 65 à 67 ans, comme le proposaient les militants libéraux lors de leur congrès de la fin de semaine dernière, risque d'augmenter les iniquités sociales. ...

Mais l'âge moyen de la retraite est un indicateur très imparfait. Il témoigne de ceux qui partent à la retraite, mais ne dit rien sur ceux qui continuent de travailler. C'est pourquoi les démographes préfèrent se concentrer sur la «durée anticipée de vie en emploi» chez les travailleurs âgés de 50 ans. La remontée de cet indicateur depuis le milieu des années 90 est beaucoup plus spectaculaire que celle de l'âge moyen de la retraite. Aujourd'hui, un homme de 50 ans peut s'attendre à travailler environ 17 ans, indique Yves Carrière, professeur agrégé au département de démographie de l'Université de Montréal. ...

May 8, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
Alberta ‘increasingly like the rest of’ Canada

May 8, 2015
Election shows Alberta ‘increasingly like the rest of’ Canada
By David Ebner, Joe Friesen, and Justin Giovannnetti, The Globe and Mail

The stunning electoral landslide that propelled the New Democrats to power in Alberta this week was the product of two decades of demographic change and a shift in political attitudes that have seen Albertans draw much closer in outlook to the rest of Canada. ...

Susan McDaniel, a demographer at the University of Lethbridge, described Tuesday’s election result as “a convergence of the demographic and the political.” “I’m quite convinced that, because this is a landslide, all kinds of people voted NDP who hadn’t voted NDP before in every demographic, all across the province,” Prof. McDaniel said. “Here in Alberta I don’t think this is the shock that it is for people in other parts of the country. The big cities have two progressive mayors and that’s where most of the people live.” ...

April 4, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
It turns out ‘family values’ are bad for families

April 4, 2015
It turns out ‘family values’ are bad for families
By Doug Saunders, The Globe and Mail

Do you want to live in the kind of country where families are big, the population is young, kids are valued and couples have all the children they want? Or do you want to live in the kind of country where most women are pursuing full-time careers, where daycare centres and Planned Parenthood offices pepper the streets, where marriage isn’t considered important and where society is obsessed with birth control? It turns out to be a false dichotomy: These two sentences describe exactly the same sort of country. The way to have more and better families today is to get far away from “family values.”

This has been a dramatic, and largely unnoticed, change. Today, the most “feminist” countries, the ones that do the most to get women out of the home and into the economy, are the ones with the healthiest fertility rates. “The new relationship between women’s employment and fertility” is how François Héran, a professor with the National Institute of Demographic Studies in France, describes his latest research, which he recently presented in Ottawa. ...

March 24, 2015 - Daily Brew: Canada News
The oldest old: The changing face of Canadian seniors

March 24, 2015
The oldest old: The changing face of Canadian seniors
By Dene Moore, Daily Brew

There was a time when living past age 85 was a rarity, a result of some tightly held secret of longevity or a testament to the outstanding quality of one’s DNA. But the “oldest old,” as they’ve been dubbed, are the most rapidly growing segment of Canadian society, says a new report. In 1971, just 139,000 Canadians were 85 years and older. By 2013, there were 702,000. By 2060, that number is expected to hit 2.7 million.

“They are coming,” Jacques Legare, a demographer at the Université de Montréal and lead author of the study, tells Yahoo Canada News. “This has never been experienced. It will be the first time in history.” This generation of extreme seniors will result in a demographic shift in the country, he says. Policy makers need to prepare to deal with their rapidly expanding ranks, says Legare, who presented the study recently to a group of researchers and policy makers in Ottawa. ...

March 5, 2015 - CBC News Manitoba
More young Manitobans setting sights on other provinces, stats show

March 5, 2015
Number of people leaving Manitoba for other provinces slowly climbing, statistics show
By Teghan Beaudette, CBC News

The number of people leaving Manitoba for other provinces is slowly climbing — and young people are leading the charge. From 2013 to 2014, 4,800 more people left Manitoba for other provinces than came in — a 13 per cent increase over the year before – and the number one age group on their way out: people age 20 to 24. And that’s no good for Manitoba, according to Michael Haan, the Canada research chair in population and social policy at the University of New Brunswick. “The early investments that governments make in their young people are never recouped with an out-migrant,” he said. “Instead, young energy is used to create wealth elsewhere.” ...

February 23, 2015 - The Globe and Mail
What Readers Think: C-51's Popularity

February 23, 2015
The Globe and Mail, What Readers Think: C'51's Popularity
By Thomas K. Burch

Your editorial expressing reservations about the Angus Reid poll on Bill C-51 (Questions, Questions – Feb. 20) is welcome after earlier reports that “There’s rarely been a bill before Parliament that was more popular” (Bill C-51 Is A National Blockbuster – Feb. 19).

As a demographer with many years experience with statistical surveys, I think skepticism is in order, for reasons of methodology as well as content. It is possible that 82 per cent of Canadians “in every province, every age group, and across party lines” are in favour of the bill. But there are several reasons to suspend judgment. The respondents are not in fact “a randomly selected sample of 1,509 Canadians.” They are a random sample of persons who have joined an Angus Reid panel, a panel which itself is not a random sample of Canadian adults.

Angus Reid polls are conducted online, only persons with regular access to the Internet can join the panel. This means that one out of five adults is automatically excluded. Panel members are self-selected; it is axiomatic that self-selected samples tend to be biased.

Taken together, these factors suggest a sample that underrepresents young adults, busy people, and the poor. We would do well to wait and see what Canadians really think of Bill C-51.

February 16, 2015 - Ottawa Citizen
Martin Cooke: We can do better than the long form census

February 16, 2015
Ottawa Citizen, We can do better than the long form census
By Martin Cooke

In Private Member’s Bill 628, Liberal MP Ted Hsu proposed to bring back the long form census. I appreciate any effort to strengthen Statistics Canada but, now that this bill has failed, we should be developing the statistics system of the future and stop looking back to the system as it was in 2006.

I was among the academics protesting the 2010 decision to scrap the mandatory census long form in favour of the voluntary National Household Survey. As we said at the time, the census is a critical tool for policy research. It gives us the only complete count of Canadians and where they live and some important social and economic indicators. The 20 per cent of households that got the long form were enough to give accurate estimates down to a few city blocks. The census was also a central pillar of a large national statistics system, as is the Labour Force Survey (which remains mandatory). It facilitated many voluntary surveys on health, crime and victimization, retirement, consumer finances, and other important topics.