Going greyer: Northeastern Ontario continues to age, according to latest census

The latest numbers from the 2021 Canadian census are out and northeastern Ontario continues to age faster than the rest of the country.

1st count of transgender, non-binary Canadians shows higher-than-average population in Greater Sudbury

The average age of most cities and towns in northeastern Ontario went up since the last census in 2016, while the percentage of the population under 30 has gone down. (Erik White/CBC )

The latest numbers from the 2021 census are out and northeastern Ontario continues to age faster than the rest of Canada.

The average age of someone in Sudbury (42.9), Sault Ste. Marie (45.4) and North Bay (43.6) is well above the national average of 41.9.

Timmins comes in a bit younger at 41.8, but its population, like almost all cities and towns across the northeast, has gone greyer since the last census was taken in 2016.

The percentage of the population under 30 also dropped in all four major northeastern Ontario cities. 

One of the few to buck the trend was Black River-Matheson, which saw its average age drop from 44.2 to 43.4, while the population of the small town jumped by about 100 to 2,572 in 2021. 

The mining town turned retirement community of Elliot Lake continues to be one of the oldest places in Canada, with an average age of 53.4, up from 52. 7 in 2016. 

Due to a recent baby boom, many First Nations in the northeast have an average age in the 30s, but many of them saw that number rise in the last five years.

This is the first census to collect numbers on the transgender and non-binary population.

Statistics Canada says there are about 0.33 per cent or 100,000 Canadians who identify that way.

In Greater Sudbury, the only northeastern Ontario city where the census lists specific figures, it's a bit higher than the national average, with 0.41 per cent or about 700 transgender or non-binary Sudburians. 


Erik White


Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to


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