Canadians living longer, Statistics Canada reports
Published Tuesday, February 23, 2010 10:24PM EST
The average Canadian born between 2005 and 2007 can now expect to live to 80.7, Statistics Canada reports.
That's up from a decade ago, when a baby born between 1995 and 1997 could expect to live to 78.4. It's also up slightly from a few years ago, when a baby born between 2004 and 2006 could expect to live to 80.5.
The agency says much of the gains in Canadian life expectancy come from men, even though women still live the longest. Men's life expectancy at birth rose by 2.9 years to 78.3 in 2005-2007. Among women it increased by 1.8 years to 83.0.
"The gap between the sexes has been closing for several years," the agency notes.
Experts say several factors have contributed to Canadians' longer lifespans.
"Improved health, reduction of diseases like childhood diseases, good food, and good nutrition," Dianne Groll of Queen's University in Kingston, Ont. told CTV News.
According to the report, life expectancy among seniors is also on an upward trend, as it has been for several years.
The average man who has already made it to the age of 65 could expect to live an additional 18.1 years in 2005-2007. That's an increase of two years from the previous decade. A 65-year-old woman can expect to live an additional 21.3 years, up by 1.3 years.
"Gains in life expectancy among seniors during the past decade have accounted for about 70 per cent of the increase in life expectancy at birth," Statistics Canada explained.
Treatments for illnesses such as heart disease and cancer have helped seniors live longer, more productive lives. But an aging population also requires more care, which will stretch government budgets.
"Longer lifespans, you're going to get more pressures on things like long-term care and home support," Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter said.
Highest life expectancy in B.C.
British Columbia has the longest life expectancy, the report says. Babies born in B.C. in 2005-2007 will live an average of 81.2 years. The next highest life expectancy is in Ontario, at 81.0 years.
The lowest life expectancy is in the three territories combined, which have an average life expectancy at birth of 75.8 years. Life expectancy in Quebec is at the national average, and in the remaining provinces, life expectancy is below the national average.
Life expectancy at age 65 is also highest in British Columbia at 20.4 years. That's followed by Alberta (20.0 years), and Ontario (19.9 years). The lowest life expectancy at age 65 was in the territories, at 16.9 years.
The country's infant mortality rate rose a little bit in 2007, from 5.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2006 to 5.1 per 1,000 live births in 2007. (Infant mortality is defined as babies who die in their first year of life.)
Among boys, the infant mortality rate increased from 5.4 in 2006 to 5.5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2007. Among girls, the rate went up from 4.6 to 4.7 during the same period.
In general, the infant mortality rate has been declining since 1982, when the rate was at 9.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.
In 2007, 235,217 people died in Canada, up 3.1 per cent from 2006. That's the largest increase since 1993, but it continues a long upward trend that results from a growing and aging population.
"The aging of the Canadian population is the main contributor to the increasing trend in the number of deaths," the report's authors write. "From 1982 to 2007, the proportion of people aged 65 and older increased by 38.5 per cent."
With files from CTV's Richard Madan in Ottawa