Geographic Dimensions of Aging: The Canadian Experience 1991-1996
The major focus of this paper is on the geographic dimensions of population aging in Canada between 1991 and 1996 and the demographic processes which underlie them. The question we address is how the proportion of the population that is over 65 changes in the period from 1991 to 1996 and the way in which these changes relate to the demographic and socio-economic attributes of small areas. We develop an accounting framework which links changes in the elderly population to the two components of aging-in-place and net migration for both elderly and non-elderly populations in each area and demonstrate how the structure of these two components defines differing aging profiles in different parts of the country. Aging in the southern parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, together with much of the Atlantic provinces are dominated by net migration while aging-in-place dominates in much of the rest of the country. The geographical structure of aging in the early nineties is also compared with outcomes of an earlier analysis of aging in the latter half of the eighties. The paper goes beyond the representation of components of population aging within an accounting framework. Communities with more active and growing local economies are particularly attractive to younger migrants while those communities with declining economic opportunities are likely to see younger populations depart at a faster rate than older individuals. Sustained over longer periods of time, these processes produce shifts in the age structure of local communities and would lead us to expect that both the structure and processes of population aging would be intimately linked to the economic geography of the national landscape. This paper shows that the geography of aging is strongly linked to the geography of economic disadvantage, indicating that those areas which have both high and growing proportions of elderly are most likely to be areas of slow growth with below average incomes
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