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Canada's most populous province is also one of the youngest, according to the Census of Population held on May 16, 2006. The proportion of people aged 65 and over is smaller in Ontario (13.6%) than in all other provinces except Alberta, and children form a larger portion of the population (18.2%) than in most other provinces. It is also noteworthy that Ontario was the only province other than Alberta whose population grew faster than the national average between 2001 and 2006.
The relative youthfulness of Ontario's population is due to a combination of factors. The cohorts born in Ontario between the First and Second World Wars were relatively small as the province had one of the lowest fertility rates in Canada at the time. These same small cohorts are the people who are age 65 and over today. Moreover, sustained immigration to Ontario since the late 1980s seems to have had an indirect impact on the number of births. Arriving in the province when they were about 30 on average, female immigrants come to Canada at an age when women are more likely to have children. That is one of the reasons that the percentage of children in Ontario has been higher than the national average since 1996.
Nevertheless, the population is aging in Ontario, as it is in every other part of Canada. The proportion of people aged 65 and over in the province rose from 12.9% in 2001 to 13.6% in 2006. Over the same period, the proportion of people under the age of 15 declined from 19.6% to 18.2%.
Figure 13 Age pyramid of Ontario population in 2001 and 2006