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    Portrait of seniors in Québec

    Québec, May 18, 2023. – What is the demographic weight of Québec seniors? What proportion works full- or part-time? Are they satisfied with their social life? How many get involved in politics? Those are just some of the questions answered in the report Portrait des personnes aînées au Québec, released today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec. This portrait of Québec seniors covers a multitude of indicators related to demographics, material living conditions, work, retirement, lifestyle, health and well-being, and social participation.

    The statistics in this portrait come from various sources and were the latest available data at the time of writing. For the year represented by each statistic, consult the report.

    Demographics: Proportion of men on the rise

    It’s widely known that the demographic weight of seniors in Québec is growing. In 2021, 1.75 million people aged 65 and over lived in the province, representing 20% of the population. This proportion was 7% in 1971 and the Institut projects it will increase to 26% by 2041.

    Life expectancy is rising more rapidly for men than women. This has caused the percentage of women in the senior population to decrease over time. It dropped from 59% in 2001 to 54% in 2021, and is expected to drop to 52% by 2041.

    Work and retirement: Most work full time

    In 2021, Québec had 170,600 workers aged 65 and over, representing 4.0% of the working population. In 2005, this percentage was 1.5%. The employment rate of the 65–69 age group rose steadily from 2005 to 2021, from 16% to 25% among men and from 9% to 16% among women.

    The majority (56%) of seniors in the workforce have full-time jobs. The 65 and over age group has the largest proportion of self-employed workers among those who are employed (37%). This proportion is 20% or less among younger age groups.

    Material living conditions: 16% of seniors in private households live in unaffordable housing

    Seniors had a median individual income after taxes of $27,900 in 2020, which breaks down to $34,200 for men and $24,100 for women.

    Sixteen percent of seniors in private households live in unaffordable housing, making them the group most affected by this issue. This drops to 11% or less in younger age groups. 

    Among seniors in private households, men (73%) are more likely than women (65%) to be part of a household that owns its home.

    Health and well-being: Four out of five seniors rate their health as good

    Three quarters of seniors live with at least one chronic condition (e.g., arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, asthma). However, about 93% say they face no or mild disability in their daily activities, and 81% perceive themselves to be in good, very good, or excellent health.

    Nearly 17% of seniors received help at home from loved ones in the past year, and 8% have used at least one community support service.

    Almost 44% of seniors are very satisfied with their social lives, which is higher than among younger age groups (27% to 35%). 

    Note that the health and well-being data exclude people living in institutional settings.

    Civic participation: Seniors have the highest rates of voter turnout

    Since the start of the 2000s, the 65–74 age group has recorded the highest rates of voter participation at both the provincial and federal levels. 

    The proportion of seniors in elected office at the municipal level has risen over time. In 2021, people aged 65 and over accounted for about a third of all elected mayors, up from 12% in 2005. Similarly, the proportion of elected municipal councillors aged 65 and over was 21% in 2021 and just 8% in 2005. Women are increasingly represented among the seniors elected to municipal office.

    Did you know?

    •    About 15% of seniors are immigrants.
    •    Three quarters have grandchildren.
    •    The number of hours seniors volunteer per year is equivalent to 131,400 full-time jobs.
    •    Seniors make up about 22% of all driver’s licence holders.
    •    Half of all seniors who use the Internet are on social media.
    •    Nearly one fifth of all senior women read at least one book per week.


    Read the highlights
    Read the full report (PDF, 8.5 MB)


    The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for conducting all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision-makers and all those who wish to know more about Québec.

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