Ontario’s Ministry of Finance regularly updates its population projections for the province; its most recent updates were published in the Spring 2016. These population projections are organized into 4 different datasets:
Every year the Ministry of Finance updates its population projections for Ontario and each of its 49 census divisions to reflect the most recent trends and historical data. The Spring 2016 update is based on new 2015 population estimates from Statistics Canada and reflects minor changes in trends in fertility, mortality and migration.
The Ministry of Finance includes several Charts and Tables that reference various demographic groupings in its analysis of these population projections:
Single Years (0, 1, …, 90+)
Statistical Table 6
Five-Year Groupings (0-4, 5-9, …, 85-89, 90+)
Statistical Tables 7-10
Life Cycle Groupings (0-14, 15-64, 65+)
Charts 5-6, 10-12
Statistical Table 2
To assist in planning, delivering, and evaluating human services – particularly those for young people – we want to differentiate Youth (15-24 years old) from Adult (25-64) instead of using the Ministry of Finance’s original definition of “Adult”: 1
Children (0- 14 years old)
Youth (15 – 24)
Adults (25 – 64)
For the interested reader, we have compiled a set of Statistical Tables that restate the population projections for Ontario in terms of our Life Cycle Groupings.
Now, let’s review the highlights of the Ministry of Finance’s analysis.
The Ministry of Finance considers three scenarios of population growth in Ontario. The medium-growth or reference scenario – the most likely to occur if recent trends continue – projects population growth of 30.1 per cent, from 13.8 million in 2015 to more than 17.9 million in 2041 (Chart 1).
The rate of population growth in Ontario in the reference scenario is projected to decline gradually from 1.2 per cent to 0.8 per cent annually (Chart 2).
Components of population growth
In any given year, the share of population growth due to natural increase versus net migration varies. While natural increase trends evolve slowly, net migration can be more volatile, mostly due to swings in inter-provincial migration and variations in international immigration.
The number of births and deaths in Ontario has been rising slowly and at a similar pace over the last decade. As a result, natural increase has been fairly stable at about 50,000 annually. The rate of population growth due to natural increase over the projection period is affected by two main factors:
The passage of the baby boom echo generation (children of baby boomers) through peak fertility years will result in an increased number of births through the late 2010s and early 2020s.
The transition of large cohorts of baby boomers into the Seniors group.
Overall, natural increase is projected to be fairly stable around 55,000 over the first decade of the projections, followed by a steady decline to less than 17,000 by 2041. The share of population growth accounted for by natural increase (versus net migration) is projected to decline from 32 per cent in 2016 to 11 per cent by 2041 (Chart 3).
Net migration to Ontario has averaged about 77,000 per year in the past decade. Net migration is projected to be higher at the beginning of the projection period than it has been during the past few years, as net losses of population through inter-provincial migration have recently turned to gains and federal immigration targets have been raised significantly.
Ontario’s annual net migration gain is projected to increase from 114,000 in 2016 to 130,000 by 2041. The share of population growth accounted for by net migration (versus natural increase) is projected to rise from 68 per cent in 2016 to 89 per cent by 2041 (Chart 3).
The Ministry of Finance displays the distribution of age among the people of Ontario in the familiar form of an age pyramid (Chart 4) and shows how age structure impacts the share of population (Chart 5) and the rate of population growth (Chart 6) accounted for by three Life Cycle Groupings (0-14, 15-64, 65+ years old).
Using our four Life Cycle Groupings ((0-14, 15-24, 25-64, 65+ years old), we have redrawn the projected share of population (Chart 5-PGA) and the projected rate of population growth (Chart 6-PGA):
The Ministry of Finance includes the following analysis (pp. 8-10):
By 2041, there will be more people in every age group in Ontario compared to 2015, with a sharp increase in the number of seniors. Baby boomers will have swelled the ranks of seniors; children of the baby boom echo generation will be of school-age; and the baby boom echo cohorts, along with a new generation of immigrants, will have bolstered the population aged 15–64. ...
The number of children aged 0–14 is projected to increase gradually over the projection period, from 2.2 million in 2015 to almost 2.7 million by 2041. The share of children in the population is projected to decrease from 15.9 per cent in 2015 to 14.9 per cent by 2041. By the late 2030s, the number of children is projected to grow at a much slower pace than other age groups, reflecting the smaller number of women in their 20s and 30s. ...
Within the 15–64 age group, the number of youth aged 15–24 is initially projected to decline slightly, from a high of 1,827,000 in 2015 to a low of 1,725,000 by 2022. The youth population is then projected to resume growing, reaching almost 2.1 million by 2041. The youth share of total population is projected to decline from 13.2 per cent in 2015 to 11.1 per cent by 2033, followed by a small rise to 11.5 per cent by 2041. ...
In this last paragraph, the Ministry of Finance makes its one and only substantial reference to “youth” – yet it’s a pretty important point: While the number of Youth in Ontario is projected to decline over the next five years, their numbers will increase steadily thereafter – in fact, becoming the fastest growing demographic by the end of the projection period. The Ministry’s graphics (Charts 5-6), unfortunately, obscure what’s going on here – as is immediately apparent when we differentiate Youth (15-24 years old) from Adult (25-64) using the Life Cycle Groupings (Charts PGA 5-6).
Next time: We “drill down” to the level of the region and census division – where the planning, delivery and evaluation of human services take place or where, at least, I’d argue that they should. Meanwhile, the interested reader may want to consult our Statistical Tables that restate the population projections for Ontario in terms of the Life Cycle Groupings.
In fact, Statistics Canada used these four Life Cycle Groupings until 2007. In this sense, we’re arguing for the return to Life Cycle Groupings when it comes to understanding population projections – especially when one is concerned with young people. The Ministry of Finance refers to “youth” only twice – once in passing while noting that some census divisions of Northern Ontario experiencing net out-migration, mostly among youth (p. 12) and once in the context of a more substantial discussion of changes in the annual rate of population growth due to age structure (p. 10, and see below). ↩