The Montréal metropolitan area, which is home to roughly half of Quebecers, consists of nearly 100 municipalities, including Montréal, Laval and Longueuil. The size of the area currently encompassed by the CMA, which runs from Mont St-Hilaire in the east to Mirabel in the west and from Beauharnois in the south to St-Jérôme in the north, clearly illustrates the impact of the urban spread that has occurred over the last few decades. Age and sex data from the 2006 Census indicate that urban spread has also left its mark on the age structures of the CMA's municipalities.
The municipalities with the youngest population profile in 2006 are almost all located outside the island of Montréal and Laval and largely compose the 'new' suburbs. These municipalities generally experienced the fastest population growth since 2001.
The maps show that most of the municipalities with the highest proportions of children under 15 years and the lowest proportions of people aged 65 and over were outside the island of Montréal, in the large ring of suburbs that includes municipalities such as Mirabel and Saint-Colomban to the north, Varennes and Saint-Basile-le-Grand to the east, La Prairie and Delson to the south, and Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac and Coteau-du-Lac to the west. In fact, the CMA's two youngest municipalities, Saint-Lazare and Blainville, where one person in four was under 15 years, are part of the suburban ring surrounding the island of Montréal and Laval.
Montréal CMA. Percentage of population aged 14 years and under by 2006 Census Subdivision (CSD)
On the island of Montréal itself and in some older suburbs such as Laval and St-Lambert, the population profile was an older one. Six of the 10 municipalities with the highest proportions of elderly people were on the island of Montréal. The municipality of Montréal, which had 15.2% of its population being senior, had one of the oldest populations in the CMA.
Of particular note is the municipality of Côte-Saint-Luc, on the island of Montréal, where nearly one resident in three (30.2%) was 65 years and older in 2006. The proportion of very elderly people (aged 80 and over) was also almost four times the national average (13.7% compared with 3.7%).
Montréal CMA. Percentage of population aged 65 years and over by 2006 Census Subdivision (CSD)
The Greater Golden Horseshoe, which lies to the west of Lake Ontario, is the most heavily urbanized region in Canada. It contains nine CMAs as well as more than 100 municipalities, 16 of which have a population of more than 100,000. The region has enjoyed sustained population growth since 2001, in particular because many international immigrants settle there.
Most of that population growth was concentrated in populous municipalities in a zone that extends from Hamilton to Oshawa, encircling the municipality of Toronto to the north. Some of those suburbs of Ontario's metropolis had the youngest populations in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, with at least one person in five being under the age of 15. Within the zone, Brampton had the distinction of being the municipality with both the highest rate of population growth since 2001 and the highest proportion of children (22.9%).
In contrast, the municipality of Toronto had an older population than the surrounding suburbs, as its proportion of seniors was higher and its proportion of children lower. In fact, of all the municipalities that make up the Toronto CMA, the municipality of Toronto was the only one whose proportion of children under 15 years was less than the national average.
In other Greater Golden Horseshoe CMAs, the central municipalities were older than the adjacent suburbs. This is the case for the Kitchener and Oshawa CMAs and their suburbs of Cambridge and Clarington.
Greater Golden Horseshoe. Percentage of population aged 14 years and under by 2006 Census Subdivision (CSD)
Apart from the municipality of Toronto, the municipalities with the oldest populations in 2006 were situated at the northern and southern ends of the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The Niagara Peninsula, a resort area popular with retired people, had a proportion of seniors that was high overall in 2006, especially in Niagara-on-the-Lake, where nearly one person in four was 65 years or older. To the north, the Kawartha Lakes area and the shores of Georgian Bay, also favoured by retired people, had populations older than the national average.
Greater Golden Horseshoe. Percentage of population aged 65 years and over by 2006 Census Subdivision (CSD)
Located in the south-westernmost part of Canada, the Vancouver CMA includes about 40 municipalities, five of which had a population of more than 100,000 in 2006. Since the CMA is bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the mountains to the north, most of the urban spread has taken place to the east and south over the last few decades.
The CMA's municipalities with the youngest age profile in 2006 were also located to the south and east. Surrey, Maple Ridge and Port Moody all had populations in which at least one person in five was under 15 years. They are also among the municipalities with the highest rates of population growth in the CMA since 2001.
Vancouver CMA. Percentage of population aged 14 years and under by 2006 Census Subdivision (CSD)
The municipalities of Vancouver, Burnaby and West Vancouver, all located in the western part of the CMA, had populations with a high proportion of seniors and a low proportion of children. Burnaby and West Vancouver also experienced population growth that was below the national average between 2001 and 2006.
The municipality of White Rock, at the southern end of the Vancouver CMA, had not only a high proportion of people aged 65 and over (27.8%) but also one of the highest proportions of very elderly people (80 and over) in Canada (11.7%).
Vancouver CMA. Percentage of population aged 65 years and over by 2006 Census Subdivision (CSD)