Seniors may outnumber children across Canada, but the same can’t be said for Ottawa’s suburbs.
Ottawa may be growing older along with the rest of the country, but the number of new kids on the block varies wildly according to your pick of neighbourhood, according 2016 census numbers.
Statistics Canada released their 2016 census numbers on age dwelling for communities across Canada earlier this month, showing for the first time more seniors than children in the country.
The story in Ottawa is similar to the rest of the country: the population is aging and seniors are the fastest growing segment.
Patrick Charbonneau, a population analyst with Statistics Canada, calls the trend across the country “a general shift.” The local data in Ottawa gives a different story.
“That is true for Canada and Ontario, but there are some variations when we look at local data,” said Charbonneau. “When we look at the Ottawa metropolitan region for example, this is not the case. There are still more children than seniors in the metropolitan region. If we segregate even further, there are quite large variations in neighbourhoods. Some neighbourhoods are much younger than others.”
Where does your neighbourhood stack up?
Overall, Ottawa’s suburban neighbourhoods win out for the most number of children. One census area in Barrhaven, close to Stonebridge golf course, has the highest percentage, with children under 14 making up close to a third of the population.
Tracts of Stittsville and Kanata are similar, with children making up a quarter of the population in many areas. In the east end, Orleans has the same pattern.
Charbonneau said areas with younger children also tend to be the fastest growing neighbourhoods.
“In a sense they have a more family oriented lifestyle, with proximity to schools, more parks, sports facilities,” said Charbonneau. “There are other factors such as having access to larger houses, larger land area and more affordable prices may lead to new families to establish in those communities. New housing developments often have younger families, they start having children and settle.”
The opposite is true in the downtown core. Areas like Centretown, LeBreton Flats, Sandy Hill and the Byward Market have the lowest number of children.
In cities across Canada downtown populations tend to have less children or seniors – instead they’re filled with working age people between 15 and 64 years old.
Just as young families are attracted to the suburbs, those of working age are drawn to amenities in the downtown.
“It is the proximity to places of work, there are a lot of offices and federal government buildings,” said Charbonneau. “More urban lifestyle, restaurants, bars, cultural facilities and also proximity to universities.”
South of the downtown core, the percentage of children in downtown neighbourhoods increases. The Glebe, Old Ottawa South, Westboro and Beechwood have percentages around 15 to 20 per cent.
Eastern Overbrook and the southern part of Sandy Hill are the only core areas with youth populations comparable to the suburbs.
Article written by Hayley Ritchie, on the Metro News Website. Follow the link here.