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CANADATA: How an aging population affects the Canadian construction industry

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by Journal Of Commerce last update:Oct 1, 2012

An aging population will affect demand for housing and healthcare construction as well as the construction labour force, a demographics expert said at the CanaData conference Thursday in Toronto.

An aging population will affect demand for housing and healthcare construction as well as the construction labour force, a demographics expert said at the CanaData conference Thursday in Toronto.

Ryan Berlin, economy and housing market analyst at Vancouver-based Urban Futures, delivered a presentation to an audience at CanaData Construction Industry Forecasts, which is taking place today at the Liberty Grand conference centre at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds.

He presented several graphs and tables of demographic data from Canada, showing declining birth rates and improved life expectancy.

The population has been aging for about 40 years, Berlin said, noting that in 1971, the typical Canadian resident was 10 years old but now the typical resident is in his or her 40s.

Meanwhile, since 1951, life expectancy at birth has gone up by more than 13 years, according to a chart he presented. While he presented figures released from the 2011 national census, Urban Futures compiles “household maintainer rates,” which measures the percentage of people in an age group who are responsible for their household’s finances.

The rate is 11 per cent for those under 25 but increases to 54 for the 35 to 44 age group.

“As the population ages, demand for apartments will increase,” Berlin said, adding health care spending will rise. Right now, he said, in Canada we spend about $2,100 per person aged 45-49 on health care, while spending on those aged 85 to 89 is just under $20,000 per person.

So this means new clinics and hospitals will be needed as baby boomers age, and labour markets will be “increasingly constrained.” This will be a challenge to the economy as a whole and construction specifically, he said. “Do whatever you need to do to get on those top 100 employers lists,” he said. “Make sure you don’t let this older segment walk out the door without downloading at least some of that (knowledge) to the younger generations.”

JOC DIGITAL MEDIA

last update:Oct 1, 2012

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