- Society is in the midst of a worldwide seismic shift. People are living healthier, longer lives and this is producing changes— both big and small— for individuals and communities. This demographic shift, precipitated by lower birth rates, longer life expectancy and the aging of the large cohort of baby boomers, will have a significant effect on our economic, social and governmental sectors.
- In 2001, New Brunswick’s population began to change as the province felt the triple impact of working age baby boomers, a lower birth rate and youth outmigration. As society looks into the future, things are not shaping up well for New Brunswick. By 2030, no age cohort will dominate. That means New Brunswick residents over the age 65 and those under the age of 14 will combine to outnumber working age adults.
- New Brunswick is a small, linguistically-unique province. About 16 per cent of New Brunswickers are over the age of 65— about 122,000 out of a total population of 755,000. That is slightly higher than the national average of people over the age of 65, which sits at 14 per cent.
- New Brunswick is home to 123,630 people aged 65 years and older. Only 3 per cent are nursing home residents. Understanding the desires of the other 97 per cent is key to creating policies and programs to serve older adults in our province. For older adults, maintaining their independence and remaining in their communities is paramount and it should be a goal for all.
- The province’s current life expectancy is 82 years of age; 77.5 years for men and 82.8 years for women. Over the next 20 years, Statistics Canada forecasts the province’s population will age faster than the rest of Canada.
Four factors driving this growth:
- Baby boom generation: The eldest of this large, heterogeneous generation, born between 1947 and 1966, turned 65 in 2011.
- Declining birth rates: The entry of women into the workforce in the 1960s precipitated a decline in birth rates, which is not expected to rebound.
- Youth outmigration: The three-decade long outmigration of educated young people from New Brunswick denied the province an “echo boom”— babies born to the children of baby boomers.
- Longer life expectancy: The proportion of people over the age of 85 is the fastest growing population segment with no expectation of abatement.