THE North Shore is getting older.
Census figures released Tuesday showed local populations are aging at a much faster rate than in previous generations — a trend reflected across the country as many of the baby boom generation enter their golden years.
But there are also pronounced differences in the populations of different parts of the North Shore.
In West Vancouver, the grey tsunami is more keenly in evidence. More than 25 per cent of the 42,695 people who called West Vancouver home in the last census are age 65 or older.
While the population of West Vancouver held steady, growing 1.3 per cent since the 2006, that was largely fuelled by an increasing number of seniors. The number of seniors in West Vancouver grew by more than 12 per cent since 2006, while the numbers of working age people and children both shrunk.
Working-age people now make up 60.7 per cent of the population there while children up to age 14 make up 13.8 per cent of the populace.
In fact, the number of children in West Vancouver is only slightly higher than the number of those aged 80 and older, who accounted for 8.8 per cent of West Vancouver’s population.
West Vancouver shares a distinction of being one of the greyer areas of the Lower Mainland, along with communities like White Rock and Lions Bay.
But it’s by no means the oldest in the province. That distinction goes to Qualicum Beach, where 47 per cent of the population is 65 and older. In nearby Parksville, that figure is 37 per cent.
North Vancouver is also growing older, with a median age of 43.4 in the district and 41.2 in the city. But unlike West Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver has a higher than average proportion of children, who make up 17 per cent of the population. That’s not as high as areas like Surrey and Port Moody, but it’s higher than central areas of the Lower Mainland like Burnaby, Richmond and the City of Vancouver.
Between 2006 and 2011, the District of North Vancouver grew to 84,415 — an increase of 2.2 per cent.
Of those people, 15.5 per cent are over 65 while 67.3 per cent of the populace is working age.
The City of North Vancouver grew the fastest since the last census, increasing by 6.7 per cent between 2006 to 2011 to a population of 48,196.
The city had the largest proportion of working age people on the North Shore — at 72.5 per cent. The proportion of children and seniors was almost even in the city at 13.5 per cent and 13.9 per cent respectively.
In both the city and district, however, increasing numbers of seniors drove overall population figures. The number of seniors in the District of North Vancouver grew by 17.6 per cent, while the number in the city grew by 10.8 per cent — much faster than other segments of the population.
In B.C. as a whole, children now make up 15.4 per cent of the population while seniors make up 15.7 per cent.
In Canada, seniors account for 14.8 per cent of the population — up from 13.7 per cent in 2006.
According to Statistics Canada, baby boomers now account for one out of every three people in the country.