take up - MisterG.ca

Age Distribution
One of the many aspects of population that geographers study is its age distribution—how many people
fall into different age groups. They often show this information on population pyramids like the one in
Figure 5.8. A country that has more young people is likely to experience higher population growth. A
nation with more people in older age groups is likely to have a slower population growth.
Canada’s population pyramid has a bulge in the middle. Its shape is like that of many industrialized
countries. From 1946 to the mid-1960s, the number of births in these countries exploded. The Second
World War had ended, and people were settling down to have large families. Many of these “baby boom”
children are now in their fifties and sixties. Since most of them did not have big families, the generation
coming after them is much smaller. In many non-industrialized countries, the situation is quite different.
Many of these countries have a large number of young people and fewer elderly people.
Dependency Load
People under age 15 and over age 65 usually do not form part of the labour force. Geographers use the
term dependency load to describe this segment of the population because these people depend on
others for support. If a country’s dependency load is high, it places more of a burden on the working
population. For example, working people may have to pay more taxes to meet the health care needs of
the elderly and the schooling needs of the young. (As you will read in the next section, immigration and
emigration rates can change this pattern.)
Future Trends
What will Canada’s population look like when you are an adult? The population pyramid in Figure 5.10
below, shows what our age distribution will look like in the future. When you compare it with the
population pyramid for 2001 in Figure 5.8 above, you will notice some significant differences. Most
important, the over-65 age group will be the fastest-growing population group in Canada in the next
twenty years!