As Burnaby grows up, it's also growing older. (Dustin Godfrey / Burnaby Beacon)

How has Burnaby (and its neighbours) aged over the last decade?

Between 2011 and 2021, Burnaby's population grew by nearly 26,000 people. But how have our age demographics changed in that time?

By Dustin Godfrey | May 4, 2022 |5:00 am

Burnaby remains a relatively young city when compared to its neighbours in Metro Vancouver, according to 2021 census data.

In fact, it’s tied with New Westminster for 13th oldest among 16 major municipalities in the regional district—only Vancouver and Surrey are younger cities.

But as the city has grown up, it has also grown older. The median age was 39.8 years in 2011, a figure that crept up to 40.4 in 2021, according to Statistics Canada’s census data.

If that appears to be a relatively minor change, consider this: the 65+ age group grew by 42.8% over the last decade. That’s an increase of more than 13,200 people in that age range, including nearly 2,200 people aged 85+.

By contrast, the under-20 population actually decreased slightly—765 individuals, or 1.7%.

But these trends aren’t particularly striking for the region as a whole. Only a handful of municipalities saw increases in children and youths aged 19 and under. And only two—West Vancouver and North Vancouver district—saw their 65+ age groups grow by less than 35%.

So overall, how has Burnaby aged over the last 10 years?

While the census states that Burnaby decreased overall in people aged 19 and under, that’s largely due to a downturn in older teens—the 15-19 age range dropped by nearly 15%, or 1,940 individuals.

The 0-4 range also decreased slightly (less than 3%), but those were, to some degree, offset by growth in the 5-9 (+11%) and 10-14 (+4%) age groups.

But it was the young adults who saw the most growth, outside of the 65+ age group.

While the number of people aged 20-24 dropped slightly (-2.6%), all three five-year age groups between 25 and 39 saw fairly substantial growth of at least 18%.

Adults aged 30-34, especially, grew quickly over the last 10 years, at 35.7%.

Mirroring the decline in children—particularly, the nearly 15% drop in older teens and tepid growth in younger teens—was a decline in both 40-49 groups.

Separated by 30 years from the younger teens, the 40-44 cohort saw a slight decrease of 4.3%. And at a similar 30-year gap with the older teens, the 45-49 group declined by 15%.

This would appear to confirm anecdotes of an exodus of families from the city.

The most dramatic change, however, is in the seniors population.

The 65+ demographics still account for only about one-sixth of the population, but their numbers grew from just under 31,000 in 2011 to just over 44,000 in 2021.

Of that 13,000-person increase, well over a third came from the 65-69 demographic, at nearly 5,000 individuals.

Each five-year group after that grows progressively slower, but not one grew less than 19%.

While the 2011 census does not break down ages past 85 years, 2016 and 2021 censuses continue to provide five-year ranges from 85-99.

The sample size in each is relatively small—the 85-89 group is shy of 4,000 people, and the 95-99 group is just over 500.

Still, each of these groups grew by at least 20%. And with a sample size in the double-digits, the 100+ cohort also grew to 75 from 60 in 2016.

Dustin Godfrey

Reporter at Burnaby Beacon

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