IESOP: Independence and Economic Security of the Older Population

Abstract of Research Paper No. 23
Demographic Trends, Labour Force Participation, and Long-term Growth
by Frank T. Denton and Byron G. Spencer

Rapid population growth ceased in Canada when the baby boom ended, and gave way to the baby bust; rapid labour force growth lasted for another two decades. As the century closes growth has become much more dependent on immigration. This paper reviews the consequences of the boom-bust sequence for the age distribution of the population and labour force since the 1950s, and provides measures of labour productivity growth over that period.

It considers also the implications of three alternative projections extending to 2036, and calculates for each the productivity growth that would be required to attain specified rates of increase in total and per capita gross domestic product. It concludes that to sustain even modest gains in GDP per capita will soon require gains in productivity greater than have been observed in the last two decades.

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Last updated: Dec 16, 1997.