Aging: Canadian Perspectives

By Marshall, Victor W.; McPherson, Barry D. | Journal of Canadian Studies, Spring 1993 | Go to article overview

Aging: Canadian Perspectives

Marshall, Victor W., McPherson, Barry D., Journal of Canadian Studies

The topics and authors included in this special issue were selected with the conviction that this area of study has much to offer scholars interested in all aspects of the humanities and social sciences. Aging, after all, is one way to consider the experience of living. Moreover, the aging of individuals occurs in social, economic, political and environmental contexts which are changing as well, partly due to another form of aging: demographic or population aging. Consequently, we must study aging individuals in an aging society.

The papers which comprise this volume focus on the demographic aspects of aging and on the impact of population aging on major social institutions and preoccupations such as the community, work, leisure, and the family. This introductory paper links these structural concerns to some issues about the meaning of aging and old age for the aging individual. We begin by examining demographic aspects of aging, the structure of the life course, socio - economic issues, and health issues. We then turn to a consideration of psychosocial concerns associated with aging: dependency and independence, family life, attitudes toward aging, and the association between aging and the anticipation of, and preparation for, death.

Demographic Aspects

Canada is an aging population. At the beginning of this century less than six percent of the Canadian population was aged 65 and older. Today more than ten percent fall into that category, and by 2031 this proportion will rise to almost 25 percent. The proportion that will be old by the decades 2021 and 2031 is now projected to be considerably higher than had been believed 15 or 20 years ago because demographers no longer anticipate large increases in fertility, and because recent decreases in later - life mortality have been significant.

Women live much longer than men. While life expectancy at birth is just 70.2 years for men, it is 77.5 years for women. These life expectancy differences persist at later ages. To illustrate, a man born in 1980 - 82 has an 75 percent chance of living to age 65; but a woman born in that period has an 86 percent chance. At age 65, a man can expect to live an additional 14.6 years, whereas a woman can expect to live an additional 18.9 years. Because women are increasing their advantage in life expectancy over men, the world of the aged is becoming a world dominated by women. This has profound implications for women, who become a majority group, and for men, who become the new minority. This shift in the sex ratio also has a profound impact on younger cohorts of the population in terms of economic support and the care - giving that may be needed, and on such public policy areas as housing, transportation, community support, health promotion and health care.

Another important aspect of the age structure of Canada's population is the changing median age. This is the age at which you would say "half of all Canadians are younger than this age." The current median age of the Canadian population is 30. In 1971 it was just 26.2 years. By the end of this century it is projected that it will rise to 37.2 years; and when, by 2031, all the baby boomers are old, the median age may be as high as 41.6 years. As a larger and larger proportion of our population reaches age 65 and beyond, the overall composition of Canadian society will become, in a way, more "mature."

Another interesting and important trend is that, considered as a population in itself, the group over age 65 is aging. That is, growth in the numbers among the very advanced ages (80+) is happening at a greater rate than among younger old people. This, however, will change after 2010, when the first of the baby boomers start to enter the 65+ category. By 2031, about one in 20 Canadians will be aged 85 or older.(f.1)

The Structure of the Life Course

The "structure of the life course" refers to typical patterns of the ordering and timing of major life events, such as marriage, retirement, the empty nest (when children are likely to have left home), and widowhood. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Aging: Canadian Perspectives


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.