: Ontario Population Projections Update

2012 – 2036
Ontario
and Its 49 Census Divisions

Spring 2013
Based on the 2006 Census

General inquires regarding the Ontario Population Projections Update, 2012–2036 should be directed to:
Ministry of Finance Information Centre
Toll-free English and French inquires: 1-800-337-7222
Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-263-7776

Ce rapport est disponible en français sous le titre Mise à jour des projections démographiques pour l’Ontario, 2012–2036

© Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2013
ISBN 978–1–4606–2020–5 (Print)
ISBN 978–1–4606–2022–9 (PDF)
ISBN 978–1–4606–2021–2 (HTML)

Table of Contents

Map of Ontario Census Divisions

I. Introduction

II. Highlights

III. Projections Results

Reference, low and high-growth scenarios
The components of Ontario population change
Age structure
Regional components of population change
Regional population growth
Regional age structure

IV. Methodology and Assumptions

Projections methodology
Base population
Fertility
Mortality
Immigration
Emigration
Non-permanent residents
Interprovincial migration
Intraprovincial migration

Glossary

Statistical Tables

Map of Ontario Census Divisions

Map of Ontario Census Divisions

I.  Introduction

This report presents updated population projections for Ontario and each of its 49 census divisions, by age and sex, from the new base year of 2012 to 2036. These projections are produced by the Ontario Ministry of Finance and are an update of the projections released in spring 2012, based on the 2006 Census.

The Ministry of Finance produces an updated set of population projections every year to provide analysts and researchers with a demographic outlook reflecting the most up-to-date trends and historical data. This update is based on the new 2012 population estimates from Statistics Canada and includes changes to reflect the most recent trends in fertility, mortality and migration.

The updated projections have three scenarios for Ontario. The medium, or reference scenario, is considered most likely to occur. The low- and high-growth scenarios provide a reasonable forecast range based on plausible changes in the components of growth. Projections for each of the 49 census divisions are for the reference scenario only.

The projections do not represent Ontario government policy targets or desired population outcomes, nor do they incorporate explicit economic or planning assumptions. They are developed using a standard demographic methodology in which assumptions for population growth reflect recent trends in all streams of migration and the continuing evolution of long-term fertility and mortality patterns in each census division. Census division projections are summed to obtain the Ontario total.

The report includes a set of detailed statistical tables on the new projections. Key demographic terms are defined in a glossary.

II.  Highlights

Highlights of the new 2012–2036 projections are for the reference scenario:

  • Ontario’s population is projected to grow by 28.6 per cent, or almost 3.9 million, over the next 24 years, from an estimated 13.5 million on July 1, 2012 to almost 17.4 million by July 1, 2036.
  • The annual rate of growth of Ontario’s population is projected to remain close to 1.0 per cent for most of the projection period.
  • Net migration is projected to account for 71 per cent of all population growth in the province over the 2012–2036 period, with natural increase accounting for the remaining 29 per cent. Over the last decade of the projections, the contribution of natural increase will moderate as baby boomers increasingly reach senior years and the number of deaths increases more rapidly.
  • The number of seniors aged 65 and over is projected to more than double from about 2.0 million, or 14.6 per cent of population, in 2012 to almost 4.2 million, or 24.0 per cent, by 2036. The growth in the share and number of seniors will accelerate over the 2012–2031 period as baby boomers turn age 65. After 2031, the growth in the number of seniors will slow significantly.
  • The number of children aged 0–14 is projected to increase gradually over the projection period, from 2.2 million in 2012 to over 2.7 million by 2036. The children’s share of population is projected to fall from 16.3 per cent in 2012 to 15.9 per cent by 2016, and to rise slightly over the 2021–2029 period to reach 16.0 per cent as the baby boom echo generation (children of baby boomers) have children. Thereafter, the share is projected to resume declining, falling to 15.7 per cent by 2036.
  • The number of Ontarians aged 15–64 is projected to grow from 9.3 million in 2012 to almost 10.5 million by 2036. This age group is projected to decline as a share of total population, falling from 69.1 per cent in 2012 to 60.4 per cent by 2036. As baby boomers turn age 65, the growth in population aged 15-64 will slow down until 2027–28 and then accelerate over the remainder of the projection.
  • The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is projected to be the fastest growing region of the province, with its population increasing by 2.5 million, or 39.1 per cent, to reach over 8.9 million by 2036. The GTA’s share of provincial population is projected to rise from 47.6 per cent in 2012 to 51.5 per cent in 2036.
  • All regions will see a shift to an older age structure. Regions where natural increase and net migration are projected to become or remain negative will see the largest shifts in age structure. The GTA is expected to remain the region with the youngest age structure as a result of strong international migration and positive natural increase.

III.  Projection Results

Reference, low and high-growth scenarios

The Ministry of Finance projections provide three plausible growth scenarios for the population of Ontario to 2036. The medium-growth or reference scenario is considered most likely to occur. The low- and high-growth scenarios provide a forecast range based on plausible changes in the components of growth. Population is projected for each of the 49 census divisions for the reference scenario only. Charts and tables in this report are for the reference scenario, unless otherwise stated.

Under all three scenarios, Ontario’s population is projected to experience healthy growth over the 2012–2036 period. In the reference scenario, population is projected to grow 28.6 per cent, or almost 3.9 million, over the next 24 years, from an estimated 13.5 million on July 1, 2012 to almost 17.4 million on July 1, 2036.

In the low-growth scenario, population increases 15.0 per cent, or 2.0 million, to reach over 15.5 million people by 2036. In the high-growth scenario, population grows 43.8 per cent, or 5.9 million, to 19.4 million people by the end of the projection period.

Line graph: Chart 1 - Ontario population, 1971 to 2036

The annual rate of growth of Ontario’s population in the reference scenario is projected to remain close to 1.0 per cent for most of the projection period.

In the low-growth scenario, the annual rate of population growth is projected to average 0.6 per cent over the projection period. In the high-growth scenario, the population is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 1.6 per cent between 2012 and 2036.

Bar graph and line graph: Chart 2 - Annual rate of population growth in Ontario, 1971 to 2036

The components of Ontario population change

In any given year, the contributions of natural increase and net migration to population growth vary. While natural increase trends evolve slowly, net migration can be more variable, mostly due to swings in interprovincial migration and variations in immigration. For example, over the past 10 years, the share of population growth coming from net migration has been as high as 70 per cent in 2002–03 and as low as 60 per cent in 2006–07.

Net migration levels to Ontario have been lower in recent years, at less than 100,000 per year, mostly due to net interprovincial migration flows to the rest of Canada. Natural increase has also been trending lower, since baby boomers have nearly completed their reproductive years and the cohorts of women in peak fertility years are now smaller. The number of births and deaths has been rising slowly and at a similar pace. As a result, natural increase has been fairly stable at about 50,000 annually over the last decade.

Over the next five years, net migration is projected to increase significantly as current net losses of population through interprovincial migration subside. Ontario’s annual net migration gain is projected to rise from 78,600 to 98,900 during the first five years of the projection. Over the rest of the projection period, net migration levels will increase more gradually to reach 134,000 by 2035–36. The share of population growth accounted for by net migration is projected to rise from 62 to 67 per cent over the first five years, and then remain fairly stable around 68 per cent until the mid-2020s, increasing rapidly thereafter to reach almost 81 per cent by 2036 as a result of lower natural increase.

Line graph: Chart 3 - Contribution of natural increase and net migration to Ontario's population growth, 1971-2036

Future levels of natural increase will be affected by two main factors over the projection period. First will be the passage of the baby boom echo generation (children of baby boomers) through peak fertility years, which will result in an increase in the number of births through the late 2010s and early 2020s. Births are projected to increase from 142,000 in 2012–13 to over 166,000 by the mid-2020s and remain above that level until the end of the projection period.

The second major factor influencing the future path of natural increase in Ontario will be the arrival of large cohorts of baby boomers in the senior age group. By 2031, all baby boomers will be 65 or older and the number of deaths will start to increase more rapidly. Over the first decade of the projections, the pace of increase in the annual number of deaths in Ontario is projected to slow as the small cohorts born during the 1930s reach their life expectancy. From 2012 to 2021, the annual number of deaths will still rise from 94,000 to 106,000. Over the remaining years to 2036, annual deaths will increase faster, to reach over 137,000.

Overall, natural increase is projected to increase from 48,000 in 2012–13 to a high of 54,000 in 2022–23, followed by a gradual decline to 32,000 by 2035–36. The share of population growth accounted for by natural increase is projected to decline from 38 to 33 per cent over the first five years of the projection, and then remain fairly stable at about 32 per cent until the mid-2020s, decreasing rapidly thereafter to reach 19 per cent by 2036.

Age structure

By 2036, there will be more people in every age group in Ontario compared to 2012 and the aging of Ontario’s population will accelerate. 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.

Line graph and bar graph: Chart 4 - Age Pyramid of Ontario's population, 2012 and 2036

The median age of Ontario’s population is projected to rise from 40 years in 2012 to 43 years in 2036. Median age for women will climb from 41 to 44 years over the projection period while for men it is projected to increase from 39 to 43 years.

The number of seniors aged 65 and over is projected to more than double from about 2.0 million, or 14.6 per cent of population in 2012, to almost 4.2 million, or 24.0 per cent, by 2036. By 2016, for the first time, seniors will account for a larger share of population than children aged 0–14.

By the early 2030s, once all baby boomers have reached age 65, the pace of increase in the number and share of seniors is projected to slow down significantly. The annual growth rate of the senior age group is projected to slow from an average of 3.5 per cent over 2012–31 to less than 1.8 per cent by the end of the projection period. However, this age group will still be growing much faster than the 0–14 and 15–64 age groups.

The older age groups will experience the fastest growth among seniors. The number of people aged 75 and over is projected to rise from 910,000 in 2012 to over 2.2 million by 2036. The 90+ group will more than triple in size, from 96,000 to 291,000.

The proportion of women among the oldest seniors is projected to remain higher than that of men but to decline slightly as male life expectancy is projected to increase faster than that of females. In 2012, there were 46 per cent more women than men in the 75+ age group. By 2036, the ratio is projected to have fallen to 22 per cent more women than men of that age.

Line graph: Chart 5 - Proportion of population aged 0-14, 15-64 and 65+ in Ontario, 1971 to 2036

The number of children aged 0–14 is projected to increase gradually over the projection period, from 2.2 million in 2012 to over 2.7 million by 2036. The children’s share of population is projected to fall from 16.3 per cent in 2012 to 15.9 per cent by 2016, and to rise slightly over the 2021–2029 period to reach 16.0 per cent as the baby boom echo generation (children of baby boomers) have children. Thereafter, the share is projected to resume declining, falling to 15.7 per cent by 2036. By the 2030s, the number of children is projected to grow at a much slower pace than other age groups as smaller cohorts of women pass through their 20s and 30s.

The number of Ontarians aged 15–64 is projected to grow from 9.3 million in 2012 to almost 10.5 million by 2036, a slower pace than the 0–14 and 65+ age groups. As a result, the 15–64 age group is projected to account for a decreasing share of total population, falling from 69.1 per cent in 2012 to 60.4 per cent by 2036.

The growth rate of the population aged 15–64 is projected to keep falling over the first two decades of the projection period. From an annual rate of growth of 0.5 per cent at the beginning of the projection, this age group is projected to grow by just 0.2 per cent by the late 2020s. Starting at the end of the 2020s, as the children of the baby boom echo start reaching age 15, the pace of annual growth of the 15–64 age group is projected to improve to 0.8 per cent by 2035–36.

Line graph: Chart 6 - Pace of growth of population age groups 0-14, 15-64 and 65+ in Ontario, 1971 to 2036

Within the 15–64 age group, the number of youth aged 15–24 is projected to decline slightly over the 2010s, from a high of 1,822,000 in 2012 to a low of 1,709,000 by 2021. The youth population is then projected to resume growing, reaching over 1.9 million by 2036. The youth share of total population is projected to decline from 13.5 per cent in 2012 to 11.1 per cent by 2031, followed by a small rise to 11.2 per cent by 2036.

The number of people aged 25–44 is projected to increase throughout the projection period from 3.7 million in 2012 to almost 4.4 million by 2036 while their share of population will decline from 27.5 to 25.1 per cent.

The number of people aged 45–64 is projected to keep growing in the first decade from 3.8 million in 2012 to 4 million by 2021 and decline slightly over the 2020s. The 45-64 age group will resume growth during the 2030s to reach almost 4.2 million by 2036. Its share of population is projected to decline gradually from 28.1 per cent in 2012 to 24.0 per cent by 2036.

Regional components of population change

Within Ontario, the main demographic determinants of regional population growth are the current age structure of the population, natural increase, and the migratory movements in and out of each region. Demographic trends vary significantly among the 49 census divisions that comprise the six geographical regions of Ontario.

The current regional age structure has a direct impact on projected births and deaths. A region with a higher share of its current population in older age groups will likely experience more deaths in the future than a region of comparable size with a younger population. Similarly, a region with a large share of young adults in its population is expected to see more births than a region of comparable size with an older age structure. Also, since migration rates vary by age, the age structure of a region or census division will have an impact on the migration of its population.

The general aging of population will result in a rising number of census divisions with negative natural increase over the projection period. Deaths exceeded births in 22 of Ontario’s 49 census divisions over the past five years. This number is projected to rise gradually so that 35 census divisions are projected to experience negative natural increase by 2035–36.

This declining or negative trend in natural increase means that many census divisions in Ontario where natural increase previously was the main or even sole contributor to population growth have already started to see their population growth slow. This trend is projected to continue as the population ages further.

Map: Chart 7 - Evolution of natural increase by census division, 2012-2036

Migration is the most important determinant of population growth for Ontario as a whole and for most regions. Net migration gains, whether from international sources, other parts of Canada or other regions of Ontario, are projected to continue to be the major source of population growth for almost all census divisions.

Large urban areas, especially the GTA, which receive most of the international migration to Ontario are projected to grow strongly. For other regions such as Central Ontario, the continuation of migration gains from other parts of the province will be a key source of growth. Some census divisions of Northern Ontario receive only a small share of international migration and have been experiencing net out-migration, mostly among youth, which reduces both current and future population growth.

Regional population growth

The GTA is projected to be the fastest growing region of the province over the projection period, accounting for almost two-thirds of Ontario’s net population growth to 2036. The GTA’s population is projected to increase from 6.4 million in 2012 to 8.9 million in 2036. The region’s share of total Ontario population is projected to rise from 47.6 per cent in 2012 to 51.5 per cent in 2036. It passes the 50 per cent mark in 2026-27.

Map: Chart 8 - Population of Ontario regions, 2012 and 2036

Within the GTA, Toronto’s population is projected to rise from 2.79 million in 2012 to 3.45 million in 2036, an increase of 23.6 per cent, below the provincial growth rate of 28.6 per cent. Growth in the other census divisions of the GTA (Durham, Halton, Peel and York) will be significantly faster than the Ontario average, with the addition of almost 1.9 million people to the suburban GTA. Peel alone is projected to see its population increase by 630,000 over 2012–36. Halton is projected to be the fastest-growing census division in Ontario over the projection period, with growth of 67.2 per cent to 2036.

Map: Chart 9 - Population growth/decline by census division over 2012-2036

The population of Central Ontario is projected to grow by 722,000 or 24.8 per cent, from 2.91 million in 2012 to 3.63 million in 2036. The region’s share of provincial population will decline slightly from 21.5 to 20.9 per cent. Three census divisions surrounding the GTA will continue to experience population growth significantly above the provincial average; they are Simcoe at 36.5 per cent, Waterloo at 36.4 per cent and Dufferin at 32.7 per cent.

The population of Eastern Ontario is projected to grow 26.1 per cent over the projection period, from 1.75 million to 2.21 million. Ottawa is projected to grow fastest (42.8 per cent) from 920,000 in 2012 to over 1.3 million in 2036. Most other Eastern Ontario census divisions will also grow, but below the provincial average, with Frontenac and Prescott & Russell growing at 27.0 and 15.1 per cent respectively. The census divisions of Hastings and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry are projected to experience population decline over 2012–2036.

The population of Southwestern Ontario is projected to grow from 1.61 million in 2012 to 1.78 million in 2036, or by 10.4 per cent. Growth rates within Southwestern Ontario will vary, with Middlesex and Elgin growing fastest (28.7 and 11.8 per cent respectively). The populations of Huron, Chatham-Kent and Perth are projected to decline over the 2012–2036 period.

The population of Northern Ontario is projected to be relatively stable over the projection horizon, with a slight increase of 0.5 per cent, from 803,200 in 2012 to 807,100 by 2036. Within the North, the Northeast is projected to see a population decline of 5,600 or 1.0 per cent, from 562,200 to 556,600. The Northwest is projected to grow by 9,400 people, or 3.9 per cent, from 241,000 to 250,500.

In the past, Northern Ontario’s positive natural increase offset part of the losses it experienced through net migration. However, natural increase in the North as a whole is now negative and it is projected to remain so as population aging accelerates.

Table A
Population Shares of Ontario Regions, 1986 to 2036
Share of Ontario
Population (%)
1986 1996 2011 2016 2026 2036
GTA 41.4 43.0 47.3 48.3 50.0 51.5
Central 21.8 22.2 21.6 21.5 21.1 20.9
East 14.0 13.8 13.0 12.9 12.9 12.7
Southwest 14.1 13.4 12.0 11.6 10.9 10.2
Northeast 6.2 5.4 4.2 4.0 3.6 3.2
Northwest 2.6 2.3 1.8 1.7 1.6 1.4
Sources: Statistics Canada, 1986–2011, and Ontario Ministry of Finance projections.

Regional age structure

All regions will see a shift to an older age structure. Regions where natural increase and net migration are projected to become or remain negative will see the largest shifts in age structure. The GTA is expected to remain the region with the youngest age structure as a result of strong international migration and positive natural increase. The Northeast will remain the region with the oldest age structure.

In 2012, the share of seniors aged 65 and over in regional population ranged from a low of 12.8 per cent in the GTA to a high of 18.4 per cent in the Northeast. Among census divisions, it ranged from 10.7 per cent in Peel to 27.5 per cent in Haliburton.

By 2036, the share of seniors in regions is projected to range from 21.3 per cent in the GTA to 30.5 per cent in the Northeast. Among census divisions, it is projected to range from 19.9 per cent in Peel to 43.8 per cent in Prince Edward.

Map: Chart 10 - Share of seniors in population by census division in 2036

Even as the share of seniors in census divisions located in and around the suburban GTA is projected to remain lower than the provincial average, the increase in the number of seniors in this area will be the most significant. The number of seniors is projected to almost triple (growth above 170 per cent) in the three suburban GTA census divisions (York, Peel and Durham). Conversely, the number of seniors will grow most slowly (less than 60 per cent) in Algoma, Timiskaming, Huron and Parry Sound.

Map: Chart 11 - Growth in numbers of seniors by census division, 2012-2036

The number of children aged 0–14 is projected to increase in all broad regions of Southern Ontario but to continue declining in the Northeast over the projection period. However, by 2036 the share of children in every region is projected to be slightly lower than it is today. In 2012, the highest share of children among regions was in the GTA at 16.8 per cent; the Northeast had the lowest share at 14.8 per cent. By 2036, the Northeast will remain the region with the lowest share of children at 14.2 per cent while the highest share will be found in the Northwest at 16.3 per cent.

The suburban GTA census divisions, along with Ottawa, are projected to record the highest growth in number of children aged 0–14 over the 2012–2036 period, with Halton seeing the most growth at 60.4 per cent. Conversely, most rural and northern census divisions are projected to have significantly fewer children by 2036, with the largest declines in the North. However, most census divisions are projected to see only a slight decrease in the share of children in their population. In 2012, the highest share of children was found in Kenora at 21.4 per cent and the lowest share in Haliburton at 10.9 per cent. By 2036, Kenora is projected to still have the highest share of children at 20.8 per cent while Prince Edward will have the lowest at 10.3 per cent.

Map: Chart 12 - Growth/decline in numbers of children aged 0-14 by census division, 2012-2036

The share of population aged 15–64, which ranged from 66.9 per cent in the Northeast to 70.4 per cent in the GTA in 2012, is projected to decline over the 2012–2036 period in every region. This age group is projected to account for 62.7 per cent of population in the GTA and 55.3 per cent in the Northwest by 2036.

While the share of population aged 15–64 is projected to fall in every census division of the province, the number of people in this age group is projected to increase in 15 of the 49 CDs, mainly in the GTA, Central Ontario and urban areas of the East and the Southwest. The highest share of people aged 15–64 in 2012 was in Toronto (71.2 per cent) while the lowest was in Haliburton (61.6 per cent). By 2036, the highest shares will be found in GTA census divisions and in both Waterloo and Ottawa, with Toronto at the highest (64.4 per cent). Prince Edward, Haliburton, Northumberland and Parry Sound are projected to become the only four CDs with shares of people aged 15–64 below 50 per cent by the end of the projection period.

IV. Methodology and Assumptions

Projections methodology

The methodology used in Ministry of Finance long-term population projections is the cohort-component method, essentially a demographic accounting system. The calculation starts with the base-year population (2012) distributed by age and sex.

A separate analysis and projection of each component of population growth is made for each year, starting with births. Then, projections of deaths and the five migration components (immigration, net emigration, net change in non-permanent residents, interprovincial in- and out-migration, and intraprovincial in- and out-migration) are also generated and added to the population cohorts to obtain the population of the subsequent year, by age and sex.

This methodology is followed for each of the 49 census divisions. The Ontario-level population is obtained by summing the projected census division populations.

It should be noted that the population projections are demographic, founded on assumptions about births, deaths and migration over the projection period. Assumptions are based on the analysis of the long-term and the most recent trends of these components, as well as expectations of future direction. For Ontario, the degree of uncertainty inherent in projections is represented by the range between the low- and high-growth scenarios, with the reference scenario representing the most likely outcome.

Base population

The updated projections presented in this report use Statistics Canada’s preliminary July 1, 2012 postcensal population estimates as a base.

As well as providing a new starting point for total population by age and sex, updating the projections to a new base alters the projected age structure and population growth in each census division. It also has an impact on many components of population growth that are projected by using age-specific rates, such as births, deaths and several of the migration streams.

Fertility

The projected number of births for any given year is obtained by applying age-specific fertility rates to cohorts of women in the reproductive age group, ages 15 to 49. The projection model relies on four parameters1 to generate the annual number of births. The first of these parameters, the total fertility rate (TFR), reflects the level of fertility while the other three parameters (the mean age at maternity, the skewness and the variance of the distribution) reflect the timing, or age, at which women have their babies. All parameters used are calibrated to generate age-specific fertility rates that closely follow recent trends.

Assumptions are based on a careful analysis of past age-specific fertility trends in Ontario and a review of fertility trends elsewhere in Canada and in other countries. The general trend is that many women are postponing births to their 30s and early 40s.

The decline in the fertility rate among young women is accompanied by a rise in fertility rates among older women. Over the past 20 years, teenage girls and women in their early 20s have experienced the sharpest declines in fertility rates. Women in their late 20s had rapidly declining fertility rates over the 1990s and early 2000s, followed by a period of slower decline up to 2008. Recent data point toward a faster rate of decline over the 2008-11 period.

Fertility rates of women in their 30s and older, which were rising moderately over the 1990s and more rapidly over most of the 2000s, have shown a slower pace of increase in the most recent years. These are the same cohorts of women who postponed births during their 20s and are now having children in their 30s and early 40s.

Following about half a century of almost continuous decline, the total fertility rate in Ontario reached its lowest level ever recorded in 2002, at 1.48 children per woman. For the following six years, annual TFR values increased gradually, back up to 1.58 in 2008. In the most recent period, TFR has declined, reaching 1.52 in 2011 (latest available). This is less than half the TFR level seen at the 1960 peak of the Baby Boom when Ontario’s total fertility rate reached 3.8 children per woman with a record 159,000 births registered that year. By 1972, fertility fell below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman.

Most researchers agree that fertility rates in the future are unlikely to return to the highs observed in the 1950s and early 1960s. Rather, it is believed that fluctuations of small amplitude around values below the replacement level and within a fairly narrow range are more likely.

In the reference scenario, the TFR is assumed to increase slightly from 1.53 to 1.60 children per woman by 2028 as younger women’s fertility rates stabilize and those of older women steadily increase.

In the low-growth scenario, fertility is assumed to decline gradually until the TFR reaches 1.30 children per woman at the end of the projection period. In the high-growth scenario, the TFR increases gradually to 1.90 children per woman by the end of the period.

1Based on the Pearsonian approach. See Glossary.

Fertility assumptions at the census division level

The most recent data at the census division level (2010) shows that TFRs range from a high of 2.30 in Kenora to a low of 1.38 in Frontenac. Trends in the evolution of the TFR in each census division over the past fifteen years show no convergence of TFRs by census division. For this reason, the projected parameters for fertility at the census division level are modelled to maintain the regional differences in women’s fertility behaviour. The census division-to-province ratio for mean age at fertility in the most recent period is assumed to remain constant. The variance and skewness of fertility distributions at the census division level evolve over the projection period following the same absolute changes as these parameters at the Ontario level.

Line graphs: Chart 13 - Total fertility rate of Ontario women, 1979 to 2036

Mortality

The projected number of deaths each year is obtained by applying age-specific mortality rates to population cohorts in corresponding ages. Assumptions of future age-specific death rates are derived2 from trends observed over the 1971–2010 period related to the pace of improvement in overall life expectancy and the age patterns in mortality.

For low-and high-growth scenarios, assumptions of life expectancy at birth at the end of the projection period are first developed. For intervening years, life expectancy is assumed to increase linearly. The derived set of assumptions for the three scenarios for Ontario all reflect a continuation of the gains recorded in the average duration of life.

The province of Ontario has one of the highest levels of life expectancy in both Canada and among the countries of the developed world. A newborn female in Ontario can expect to live 83.6 years and a newborn male 79.2 years (2008 data). Since the late 1970s, average gains in life expectancy have been in the order of 0.18 year per annum for females and 0.26 year per annum for males.

Up to the mid-1990s, annual gains in life expectancy were getting somewhat smaller and it was expected that future improvements would continue at this slowing pace. However, over the past decade, annual gains in life expectancy have picked up and appear to grow following a more linear trajectory. Future gains in life expectancy are projected to be concentrated at older ages and to be smaller for infants.

In the reference scenario, life expectancy in Ontario is projected to continue increasing linearly over the first decade of the projection and then to start slowing gradually. By 2036, life expectancy is projected to reach 85.3 years for males and 87.8 years for females. This means total gains of 6.1 years for males and 4.2 years for females between 2008 and 2036.

In the low-growth scenario, life expectancy increases at a slower pace, to 83.8 and 86.6 years for males and females respectively. In the high-growth scenario, life expectancy reaches 86.8 and 89.0 years for males and females respectively.

2 Following the Lee-Carter model (see Glossary for description).

Line graphs: Chart 14 - Life expectancy at birth by sex in Ontario, 1979 to 2036

Under the assumptions on mortality for each of the three scenarios, male life expectancy is expected to progress at a faster pace than female life expectancy. This is consistent with recent trends where males have recorded larger gains than females. Thus, the overall gap between males and females has gradually decreased, and is projected to continue to do so.

Table B
Life Expectancy in Ontario, 1976 to 2036
    1976 1986 1996 2006 2016 2026 2036
Male At birth 70.8 73.7 75.9 78.8 81.1 83.3 85.3
At age 65 13.9 15.0 16.1 18.4 19.4 21.0 22.5
Female At birth 78.0 80.0 81.3 83.1 85.0 86.4 87.8
At age 65 18.2 19.1 19.9 21.3 22.2 23.3 24.2
Sources: Statistics Canada, 1976–2006, and Ontario Ministry of Finance projections.

Mortality assumptions at the census division level

At the census division level, the mortality assumptions were developed using a ratio methodology. The Ontario-level mortality structure was applied to each census division’s age structure over the most recent three years of comparable data and the expected number of deaths was computed. This was then compared to the actual annual number of deaths for each census division over this period to create ratios of actual to expected number of deaths. These ratios were then multiplied by provincial age-specific death rates to create death rates for each census division. These were then applied to the corresponding census division population to derive the number of deaths for each census division.

An analysis of the ratio of actual to expected deaths for each census division did not reveal a consistent pattern or movement toward a convergence or divergence among regions over time. For this reason, the recent three-year average ratio for each census division was held constant over the projection period.

Components of net migration

The following sections discuss assumptions and methodology for the components of net migration, including immigration, emigration, non-permanent residents, interprovincial migration and intraprovincial migration.

Immigration

Immigration levels in Canada are determined by federal government policy. The federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration sets the national target range for the level of immigration to be achieved over the next three years. Over calendar years 2013, 2014 and 2015, the target range is set at 240,000 to 265,000 immigrants annually.

Over the past 20 years, the target range has been increased gradually by successive federal governments. These increases to the immigration target have helped maintain a relatively stable immigration rate to Canada of about 0.75 per cent of population each year.

In Ontario, immigration as a share of population has been higher than for Canada as a whole. Over the past 20 years, the immigration rate to Ontario has averaged one per cent of population, with 11 of the past 20 years above the one per cent mark.

In the reference scenario, the assumed long-term immigration rate is set at 0.9 per cent. This longterm immigration rate of 0.9 per cent is reached over a ten-year transition period to reflect the lower rates observed in recent years.

Line graphs: Chart 15 - Rate of immigration to Ontario, 1971 to 2036

Once the long-term immigration rate is reached, the number of immigrants increases over time as population grows. In the reference scenario, the annual immigration level is projected to increase from 102,000 in 2012–13 to 133,000 by 2021–22 to reach the long-term immigration rate assumption of 0.9 per cent of population. Over the rest of the projection period, the level of immigration is projected to increase gradually, in tandem with overall population growth, reaching 155,000 by 2035–36.

The long-term immigration rate is set at 0.7 per cent in the low-growth scenario, resulting in immigration levels rising slowly, from 95,000 in 2012–13 to 110,000 by 2035–36. In the high-growth scenario, the long-term rate of immigration is set at 1.1 per cent, resulting in immigration levels rising rapidly, from 108,000 in 2012–13 to 210,000 by 2035–36.

Immigration assumptions at the census division level

Projected immigration shares for each census division are based on the trends observed in the distribution of immigrants by census division over the recent past. These shares evolve throughout the projection period following established trends. The average age-sex distribution pattern for immigrants observed over the past five years is assumed to remain constant over the entire projection period. Over 85 per cent of immigrants coming to Ontario are aged 0–44.

Bar graph and line graph: Chart 16 - Immigration to Ontario, 1971 to 2036

Emigration

Total emigration is a measure of net emigration, which is gross international emigration flow minus returning emigrants plus the net variation in the number of Ontarians temporarily abroad. The leve of total emigration from Ontario averaged 20,100 over the past three years.

The number of emigrants is difficult to estimate with a high degree of accuracy because of incomplete information. Statistics Canada publishes annual estimates of these flows based on a variety of sources, such as administrative data files and immigration statistics published by agencies of other countries.

In the reference scenario, the average emigration rates by age and sex for each census division observed over the past five years are used to model the projected number of people emigrating annually from each census division. The modelling is dynamic, taking into account the annual changes in age structure within census divisions. For Ontario as a whole, this results in the number of emigrants increasing gradually over the projection period, from 20,600 in 2012–13 to 25,800 by 2035–36.

In the low-growth scenario, emigration rates by age and sex used in the reference scenario are increased by 30 per cent, making them 130 per cent of recently-observed rates. This results in emigration levels rising from 27,400 to 30,500 over the projection period.

In the high-growth scenario, emigration rates by age and sex used in the reference scenario are lowered by 30 per cent, making them equivalent to 70 per cent of recently-observed rates. This results in the number of emigrants rising from 13,800 to 19,600 over the projection period.

Bar graph and line graph: Chart 17 - Emigration from Ontario, 1971 to 2036

Emigration assumptions at the census division level

The projected number of people, by age and gender, emigrating from each census division for each year of the projections is modelled using the average emigration rates by age and gender for each census division observed over the past five years.

Non-permanent residents

Statistics Canada estimates that there were about 278,000 non-permanent residents (NPRs) living in Ontario in 2012 (e.g., foreign students, temporary workers, refugee claimants). These foreign residents are included in the base population as they are counted in the Census.

The year-to-year change in their total number must be accounted for as a component of population growth. Determining assumptions for this component is a complex task because of the significant year-to-year fluctuations and the transient nature of this group.

Over the past 30 years, Ontario has gained on average 6,700 non-permanent residents annually. The reference scenario reflects long-terms trends in the annual change in the number of NPRs by setting the long-term yearly gain to 5,000. In the low- and high-growth scenarios, the long-term annual change in the stock of NPRs is set at zero and 10,000 respectively. The long-term assumptions for each scenario are reached after a transition period of 10 years, moderating from the relatively high net gains observed recently.

Bar graph and line graph: Chart 18 - Annual change in the number of non-permanent residents living in Ontario, 1971 to 2036

Non-permanent resident assumptions at the census division level

Projected shares of non-permanent residents for each census division are based on the share held by each census division in 2012. The age-sex distribution of non-permanent residents is based on the average of the last five years. The distribution pattern is assumed to remain constant over the projection period.

Interprovincial migration

Interprovincial migration is a component that fluctuates significantly from year to year. Although Ontario remains a major province of attraction for migrants from some other provinces, trend analysis of the last three decades reveals a mixed pattern of several years of gains followed by several years of losses. This pattern is usually closely tied to economic cycles.

Since 2003, net interprovincial migration to Ontario has been negative, largely due to net losses to Alberta. Over the past 30 years, net interprovincial migration to Ontario averaged 4,300 per year. However, this includes the abnormally large inflows from Quebec recorded in the years following the 1980 referendum. Excluding the extra inflows during this period, long-term net interprovincial migration to Ontario is closer to zero. This is reflected in the most recent positive and negative cycles, which have been of similar magnitude of gains and losses.

In the reference scenario, annual net interprovincial migration for Ontario reflects recent trends in the short term. It is set at -17,500 for 2012–13, gradually returning to long-term historical values by 2016–17 with a net of zero and then remaining at that level for the rest of the projection period.

Bar graph and line graph: Chart 19 - Net interprovincial migration in Ontario, 1971 to 2036

In the low-growth scenario, net interprovincial migration for Ontario is assumed to improve gradually from a loss of 22,500 people in 2012–13 to a loss of 5,000 from 2016–17 onwards. In the high-growth scenario, a net annual loss of 12,500 people is assumed for 2012–13, followed by a gradual increase to 5,000 annually starting in 2016–17.

The annual in-flows corresponding to the long-term net migration levels in the low-growth, reference and high-growth scenarios are 62,500, 65,000 and 67,500 respectively. The corresponding annual out-flows are 67,500, 65,000 and 62,500.

Interprovincial migration assumptions at the census division level

Each census division’s share of Ontario inflow and outflow of interprovincial migrants over the last five years is applied to projected flows for the province and held constant throughout the projection period.

Intraprovincial migration

At the census division level, intraprovincial migration, or the movement of population from a census division to another one within the province, is a significant component of population growth. This component affects population growth only at the census division level.

The annual number of intraprovincial migrants in Ontario has fluctuated within the 350,000 to 430,000 range over the past 20 years. Over the projection period, the annual number of intraprovincial migrants increases gradually from 368,000 in 2012–13 to 449,000 in 2035–36. This increase over time reflects population growth and age structure changes at the census division level. In fact, even as the number of intraprovincial migrants is projected to increase, the resulting rate of intraprovincial migration in Ontario will decline slightly over the projection period, from 2.7 per cent in 2012-13 to 2.6 per cent by 2035-36.

Intraprovincial migration assumptions at the census division level

The projected number of people, by age, leaving each census division for each year of the projections, as well as their destination within the province, is modelled using the origin-destination migration rates by age for each census division over the past five years. Because migration rates by age group are different for each census division and because different age groups have different origin-destination behaviours, the methodology provides a powerful tool to project movers based on observed age and origin-destination migration patterns. The modelling is dynamic, taking into account the annual changes in age structure within census divisions.

The evolution of intraprovincial migration patterns in each census division was studied to identify specific trends and the intraprovincial migration rate assumptions were adjusted to account for these trends.

Glossary

Baby boom generation

People born during the period following World War II, 1946 to 1965, marked by an significant increase in fertility rates and in the number of births.

Baby boom echo generation
People born during the period 1982 to 1996. Children of baby boomers.
Cohort
Represents a group of persons who have experienced a specific demographic event during a given period, which can be a year. For example, the birth cohort of 1966 consists of the number of persons who were born in 1966.
GTA
The Greater Toronto Area, comprised of the census divisions of Toronto, Durham, Halton, Peel and York.
International migration
Movement of population between Ontario and a foreign country. International migration includes immigrants, emigrants and non-permanent residents. Net international migration is the difference between the number of people entering and the number of people leaving the province from foreign countries.
Interprovincial migration
Movement of population between Ontario and the rest of Canada. Net interprovincial migration is the difference between the number of people entering Ontario from the rest of Canada and the number of people leaving Ontario for elsewhere in Canada.
Intraprovincial migration
Movement of population between the 49 census divisions within Ontario. Net intraprovincial migration for a given census division is the difference between the number of people moving from the rest of Ontario to this census division and the number of people leaving for elsewhere in the province.
Lee-Carter method
A method of mortality projection proposed by Lee and Carter used to generate annual age- sex specific mortality rates. See Lee, Ronald D., and Carter, Lawrence, 1992. ―Modeling and Forecasting the Time Series of U.S. Mortality,‖ Journal of the American Statistical Association 87, no 419 (September):659-71.
Life expectancy
A statistical measure derived from the average number of years of life remaining for a person at a specific age if that person would experience during his/her life the age-specific mortality rates observed in a given year.
Median age
The median age is the age at which exactly one half of the population is older and the other half is younger. This measure is often used to compare age structures between jurisdictions.
Natural increase
The number of births minus the number of deaths.
Net migration
Difference between the number of people entering and the number of people leaving a given area. This includes all the migration components included in net international migration, net interprovincial migration and net intraprovincial migration (for sub-provincial jurisdictions).
Non-permanent residents
Foreign citizens living in Ontario (e.g., foreign students, temporary workers or refugee claimants).
Pearsonian curve
Parametric model used to distribute estimated fertility rates by age of mothers. The Pearsonian curve has four parameters. The first of these parameters, the total fertility rate, reflects the level of fertility while the other three parameters (the mean age at fertility, the skewness and the variance of the distribution) reflect the timing, or age, at which women have their babies.
Population aging
In demographic terms, population aging refers to an increasing share of seniors (ages 65+) in the population.
Population estimates
Measures historical resident population using data from the most recent Census, in addition to administrative data on the components of demographic change (births, deaths and net migration) since the Census.
Total fertility rate
The sum of age-specific fertility rates during a given year. Indicates the average number of children that a generation of women would have if, over the course of their reproductive life, they had fertility rates identical to those of the year considered.


Statistical Tables

Table 1 Projected population for Ontario under three scenarios, 2012-2036

Table 2 Characteristics of Ontario population in 2036 under three scenarios

Table 3 Ontario population and selected characteristics, 2001–2036 (reference, low and high scenarios)

Table 4 Ontario population by five-year age group and gender, selected years (reference, low and high scenarios) 

Table 5 Historical and projected migration for Ontario under three scenarios, 2001–2036

Table 6 Historical and projected population by census division, selected years — Reference scenario

Table 7 Historical and projected share of Ontario population by census division, selected years — Reference scenario

Table 8 Selected demographic characteristics of Ontario, 2001–2036 — Reference scenario 

Table 9 Ontario population by age, 2012-2036 — Reference scenario

Table 10 Ontario population by five-year age group, 2012-2036 — Reference scenario

Tables 10.1–10.49                                                                                                                        
Population by five-year age group, 2012-2036 — Reference scenario

Census divisions in the Greater Toronto Area                            

Census divisions in Central Ontario                                                                   

Census divisions in Eastern Ontario                                                                  

Census divisions in Southwestern Ontario                                                         

Census divisions in Northeastern Ontario                                                         

Census divisions in Northwestern Ontario

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