According to Statistics Canada, the poorest provinces have the oldest populations… and wealthiest have the youngest. For example, their website says:
“Nova Scotia had one of the oldest populations in Canada. The share of its population that was aged ’65 and over’ was estimated at 17.2%, the highest proportion in Canada. Also, its median age was 43.4 years, the second highest figure after Newfoundland and Labrador. This situation is due both to lower fertility and to inter-provincial migratory losses.”
Meanwhile, here are the stats for Alberta, one of our wealthiest provinces:
“Among the provinces, Alberta had the youngest population on July 1, 2012. Its median age was 36.1 years, while its proportion of persons aged ’65 years and over’ was estimated at 11.1%.”
In many cases, younger people leave poor provinces, work, and pay high taxes while they are young and healthy, then move home in their senior years. Their taxes go to the wealthy province, then, in the low-income-high-health cost years, the poorer home province is left with the bill. Right now, over 1% of Nova Scotia’s population are in nursing homes! The cost of health care rises exponentially in retirees as they get older. This leaves the poorer provinces with little financial reserves taking care of the retired workers who made rich provinces wealthy.
Efforts to subsidize health care must take these age differences into consideration. Doing otherwise is like giving the same food budget to a wildlife park that has a hundred elephants as one that has a hundred gazelles!
Photo by Stella van der Lugt – All Rights Reserved