Western Canada and Prince Edward Island grew faster than other parts of the country last year, when population is the measure, but overall, Canada’s pace of growth slowed, Statistics Canada says.

At the same time, according to a population report released Wednesday:

  • The country's median age edged closer to 40.
  • A greater percentage of the population fell within the over-65 category.
  • The under-15 category shrank.

An estimated 34,482,800 people lived in Canada as of July 1 — an increase of 356,600, or one per cent, over the year before, Statistics Canada said. The percentage gain the preceding year was slightly higher, at 1.2 per cent.

Seniors now make up 14.4 per cent of the population — an increase of 0.3 percentage points from the year before, the report said.

'The proportion of seniors will grow more rapidly in the coming years as the first generation of baby boomers are now reaching the age of 65.' — Statistics Canada population report

"The proportion of seniors will grow more rapidly in the coming years as the first generation of baby boomers are now reaching the age of 65," the agency said.

Different parts of the country showed different increases in population growth, with Prince Edward Island, at 1.7 per cent, and Alberta, at 1.6 per cent, topping the list.

Nunavut the most youthful

Canada's median age rose to 39.9 from 39.7, but across the country, there was quite a range — from under 25 years in Nunavut to almost 44 in Newfoundland.

Here is the breakdown of the median age across the country:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 43.8 
  • Nova Scotia: 43.1
  • New Brunswick: 43.0
  • P.E. I.: 42.2
  • Quebec: 41.4
  • Ontario: 39.6
  • Manitoba: 37.6
  • Saskatchewan: 37.3
  • Alberta: 36
  • British Columbia: 41.1
  • Yukon: 39.2
  • Northwest Territories: 31.8
  • Nunavut: 24.8