Transcript: Canada's Changing Demographics | Jun 25, 2015

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his forties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, purple shirt, and blue tie. Behind him, a wall screen reads “The Agenda, with Steve Paikin.”

Steve says DEMOGRAPHERS POINT TO
THE DIFFICULTY OF ACHIEVING
WORK-FAMILY LIFE BALANCE AS ONE
OF THE REASONS CANADIANS ARE
CHOOSING TO HAVE FEWER OR EVEN
NO CHILDREN.
JOINING US NOW FOR MORE ON WHAT
GOVERNMENTS AND POLICY-MAKERS
CAN DO TO ENCOURAGE POPULATION
GROWTH:
IN LONDON, ONTARIO: RODERIC
BEAUJOT, PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF
SOCIOLOGY AT WESTERN UNIVERSITY.
RODERIC, WE'RE HAPPY TO WELCOME
YOU TO THE PROGRAM TONIGHT.

Roderic is in his sixties with short gray hair and a goatee. He’s wearing a blue suit, blue shirt, striped tie and a pair of glasses.

A caption reads “Canada’s population change.”

Steve continues I WANT TO START BY SETTING UP A
GRAPH FOR YOU TO ESSENTIALLY
EXPLAIN THE SIGNIFICANCE OF --
SHELDON, IF YOU WOULD, LET'S PUT
THIS GRAPH UP NOW.

Two Cartesian graphs appear on screen. The horizontal vectors represent number and the vertical ones, age.

Steve says THIS IS STATS CAN AGE STRUCTURE
PYRAMID, AND WE'LL TAKE OUR TIME
HERE AND GO THROUGH THIS.
MAN ON THE LEFT, WOMEN ON THE
RIGHT, AGE ASCENDING IN THE
MIDDLE.
WE HAVE THE THREE DIFFERENT
THINGS WE'RE MEASURING, THE BLUE
OCEAN-LIKE SWATH ARE NUMBERS
FROM 2009.
THEN THE NEXT LINE OUT ARE
PROJECTIONS INTO THE FUTURE.
THE BLUE LINE FOR 2036.
AND THEN THE NEXT LINE OUT EVEN
BEYOND THAT ARE PROJECTIONS FOR
2061.
AND PERHAPS YOU CAN TELL US, AS
WE SEE, THE OLDER YOU GET, THE
CLOSER TOGETHER THE LINES GET,
AND ABOUT THE MID-40s IS WHERE
THE LINES ARE AT THEIR WIDEST.
EXPLAIN, IF YOU WOULD, FOR US,
RODERIC, THE SIGNIFICANCE OF
WHAT WE'RE SEEING RIGHT NOW.

Roderic says YES, THIS
IS CALLED AN AGE PYRAMID AND IT
HAS A FAIRLY DIFFERENT SHAPE
DEPENDING ON ESPECIALLY THE
LEVEL OF FERTILITY AND MORTALITY
IN A GIVEN POPULATION.
I THINK WHAT WE'RE SEEING, LIKE
IN 2009 THERE, IS THE BABY BOOM,
BY NOW IT'S AGE 50 TO 70, SO IN
2009 IT WOULD BE ABOUT 45 TO 65.
SO THAT'S AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT
OF THE POPULATION.
ALSO OVER TIME THE TOP PART
BECOMES LARGER RELATIVE TO THE
BOTTOM PART OR THE AVERAGE AGE
OF THE POPULATION GOES UP OR
THERE'S A HIGHER PROPORTION OF
PEOPLE AT AGES OF 65 AND OVER OR
85 AND OVER.

Steve says SO THE BOTTOM LINE
IS WE ARE HEADING FOR A
FERTILITY RATE THAT IS LESS
TODAY -- EXCUSE ME, WILL BE LESS
IN THE FUTURE THAN WHAT IT IS
TODAY, AND I WANT TO GET A
BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THE
CONSEQUENCES OF A LOWER
FERTILITY RATE GOING FORWARD
WILL BE FOR CANADA.

The caption changes to “Roderic Beaujot. Western University.”

The caption changes to “Canada’s population change. Age structure.”

Roderic says WELL,
FERTILITY RATE HAS BEEN FAIRLY
CONSTANT, FAIRLY STABLE, IN THE
RANGE OF 1.5 TO 1.7 BIRTHS PER
WOMAN FOR THE LAST 25 YEARS OR
SO IN CANADA, AND THE MEDIAN
PROJECTION, WHICH I THINK IS THE
ONE SHOWN HERE, IS ASSUMING THAT
FERTILITY, IN TERMS OF BIRTHS
PER WOMAN, WOULD STAY STABLE AT
ABOUT 1.6 TO 1.7.
WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH THAT IS
THAT, DEPENDING ON THE NUMBER OF
WOMEN, THERE IS A DIFFERENT
NUMBER OF BIRTHS.
OF COURSE WITH THE SAME
FERTILITY RATE.
SO WITH WOMEN BEING OLDER AND
BEYOND THE AGE OF REPRODUCTION,
YOU HAVE LESS BIRTHS, AND SO
THAT IS PARTLY CONTAINED IN THE
AGE STRUCTURE.

Steve says TELL US IF YOU
WOULD, IF WE'RE AT 1.6, 1.7
BIRTHS PER WOMAN, HOW DOES THAT
COMPARE TO OTHER COUNTRIES
AROUND THE WORLD?

Roderic says WELL,
THERE ARE A NUMBER OF COUNTRIES
THAT HAVE LOWER FERTILITY THAN
CANADA, LIKE SPAIN, RUSSIA.
THERE ARE SOME THAT ARE IN THE
RANGE OF 1.2.
THERE ARE A NUMBER THAT ARE
CLOSE TO CANADA OR MAYBE
SLIGHTLY HIGHER LIKE FRANCE OR
THE UNITED STATES, 1.8 TO 2.0.
IT USED TO BE THAT THERE WAS A
NUMBER OF LESS-DEVELOPED
COUNTRIES WHOSE FERTILITY WAS IN
THE RANGE OF 6 OR 7 BIRTHS PER
WOMAN.
BUT NOW THE HIGHEST FERTILITY IS
IN AFRICA, AND THERE IT WILL BE
MORE LIKE 3 TO 4 BIRTHS PER
WOMAN.

Steve says BUT I GATHER YOU NEED
2.1 TO REPLACE YOUR POPULATION
AND WE'RE A LONG WAY FROM THAT,
SO IF WE WANT TO KEEP THE
POPULATION WHERE IT IS OR HIGHER
I PRESUME WE'RE TALKING
IMMIGRATION, YES?

Roderic says RIGHT, WELL IT'S INTERESTING
THAT IT TAKES A LONG TIME FOR
BELOW REPLACEMENT FERTILITY AS
WE CALL IT, TO TURN INTO
NEGATIVE NATURAL INCREASE, THAT
IS WHERE THERE IS MORE DEATH
THAN BIRTHS. SO THAT WE FIRST
HAD FERTILITY BELOW 2.1 WHICH IS
KINDA THE REPLACEMENT LEVEL
IN 1974, AND IT WON'T BE UNTIL
2036 THAT WE'LL START HAVING
MORE DEATHS THAN BIRTHS, THEN
THAT'S EVEN IN THE LOW FERTILITY
ASSUMPTION. IN THE MEDIUM OR
HIGH FERTILITY ASSUMPTION, WHICH
ARE NOT THAT HIGH, 1.6 AND 1.8
WE ARE STILL SEEING MORE DEATHS,
MORE BIRTHS THAN DEATHS, EVEN
UNTIL THE END OF THE PROJECTION
PERIOD IN 2060.

Steve says HMM. WHY DO YOU THINK
FEWER PEOPLE ARE HAVING KIDS
TODAY?

The caption changes to “Canada’s Population Change. You can have it all.”

Roderic says WELL, I
THINK -- AGAIN, I THINK IT'S
FAIRLY CONSTANT.
AS YOU SAY, THERE ARE SOMETIMES
FEWER PEOPLE -- HAVE CHILDREN,
BUT A NUMBER OF THINGS HAVE
BROUGHT US TO HAVE LOWER
FERTILITY, WHAT IS BASICALLY
GOING FOR QUALITY RATHER THAN
QUANTITY, AND CONCENTRATE AT
HAVING TWO CHILDREN, WHICH WOULD
SEEM TO BE A GOOD NUMBER, YOU
HAVE AT LEAST MORE THAN ONE AND
YOU DON'T HAVE TOO MANY BY
HAVING TWO.
I ASKED PEOPLE SOME YEARS AGO,
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF HAVING TWO
CHILDREN?
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF HAVING
THREE CHILDREN?
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF HAVING NO
CHILDREN OR ONE CHILD?
AND A NUMBER OF PEOPLE SAID THAT
HAVING NO CHILDREN WAS NOT THE
BEST, YOU WERE MISSING SOMETHING
IN LIFE IF YOU HAVE NO CHILDREN,
BUT THEY ALSO SAID THAT IF YOU
DON'T WANT CHILDREN, YOU REALLY
SHOULDN'T HAVE CHILDREN.
AND SO IT WAS BEST NOT TO HAVE
CHILDREN IF THAT'S WHAT YOU
WANTED.
THEY THOUGHT THAT ONE CHILD
WASN'T THE BEST BECAUSE THE
CHILD WOULD BE KIND OF ALONE, IT
WOULDN'T HAVE A BROTHER OR
SISTER TO INTERACT WITH.
BUT THEY THOUGHT TWO CHILDREN
WAS GOOD BECAUSE THEY AT LEAST
HAD TWO SIBLINGS.
THREE OR MORE WAS SOMETIMES SEEN
TO BE HARD TO MANAGE, HARD TO BE
ABLE TO BALANCE ALL THE THINGS
THAT YOU HAVE TO DO IN LIFE WITH
EVEN THREE CHILDREN OR FOUR OR
MORE.

Steve says LET'S COMPARE NEXT
DOOR, IF WE CAN.
WE'RE IN ONTARIO.
Québec IS RIGHT NEXT DOOR.
Québec HAS A HIGHER BIRTH RATE
THAN ONTARIO.
I NOTE THAT A DECADE OR TWO AGO,
THE Québec GOVERNMENT CAME OUT
WITH A POLICY TO ACTUALLY
INCREASE THE PAYMENTS TO WOMEN
WHO HAD CHILDREN.
CAN YOU DRAW A STRAIGHT LINE
BETWEEN HIGHER PAYMENTS TO HAVE
KIDS AND PEOPLE ACTUALLY HAVING
MORE KIDS?

Roderic says NO, THIS
IS A VERY COMPLICATED MATTER ON
WHICH THERE IS FAIRLY GOOD
CONSENSUS ON TWO THINGS, I WOULD
SAY: ONE IS THAT KIND OF DIRECT
PAYMENTS FOR HAVING CHILDREN
DOESN'T WORK; THAT IS, YOU CAN'T
BUY CHILDREN IN THAT WAY.
BUT THE SECOND THING IS THAT IF
YOU ARE ABLE TO PUT IN PLACE
POLICIES WHEREIN THERE IS
FLEXIBILITY AROUND FAMILY
MATTERS AND WHERE YOU SUPPORT
PEOPLE WHO HAVE CHILDREN,
ESPECIALLY THROUGH PARENTAL
LEAVE AND CHILD CARE, THEN YOU
ARE ABLE TO SUPPORT THOSE PEOPLE
WHO WANT CHILDREN TO BE ABLE TO
ALSO WORK AND TO HAVE A MORE
BALANCED LIFE TO PAY SOME OF THE
COSTS OF CHILDREN THROUGH CHILD
CARE, AND THAT IS, IN A NUMBER
OF COUNTRIES, BEING CONSIDERED
NOW TO HAVE HELPED US TO AVOID
PARTICULARLY LOW FERTILITY.
FERTILITY IN THE RANGE OF 1.2,
1.4, MORE FERTILITY IN THE RANGE
OF 1.6, 1.7 THAT WE SEE IN
COUNTRIES LIKE FRANCE, LIKE THE
NORDIC COUNTRIES OF SWEDEN AND
NORWAY, DENMARK, AND ALSO IN
CANADA AND QUEBEC HAS A
FERTILITY MORE LIKE 1.7
COMPARED TO ONTARIO'S 1.5.

Steve says DO YOU THINK
POLICY-MAKERS AND GOVERNMENTS
SPEND ENOUGH TIME THINKING OF
WAYS TO GET PEOPLE TO HAVE MORE
CHILDREN?

Roderic says RIGHT.
I THINK THAT POLICIES SHOULD
SUPPORT PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HAVE
CHILDREN, TO HAVE THE CHILDREN
THAT THEY WANT TO HAVE, NOT
NECESSARILY TO HAVE MORE.
I THINK THAT WE DON'T PAY THAT
MUCH ATTENTION TO IT OUTSIDE OF
Québec.
IN Québec THEY DO.
THEY HAVE MINISTRIES ASSOCIATED
WITH FAMILY, AND THEY'VE THOUGHT
VERY CAREFULLY ABOUT THEIR
POPULATION QUESTION.
THEY'VE THOUGHT VERY CAREFULLY
THAT THEY SHOULDN'T GIVE THE
MONEY DIRECTLY IN TERMS OF MONEY
BUT THEY SHOULD CONVERT IT INTO
A CHEAP CHILD CARE PROGRAM AND
THAT THEY SHOULD INTRODUCE MORE
FLEXIBILITY IN THEIR PARENTAL
LEAVE PROGRAM AND PUSH MEN TO
TAKE SOME OF THE PARENTAL LEAVE
THROUGH THE POLICIES THAT
THEY'VE PUT IN, MORE OPTIONS IN
HOW YOU TAKE PARENTAL LEAVE,
WHEN YOU TAKE IT, AND THE KIND
OF -- HOW LONG YOU TAKE IT
Vis-à-vis HOW MUCH BENEFIT IT
GIVES YOU.
SO THESE KINDS OF FLEXIBILITY.
ALSO WITH ENCOURAGING THE VIEW
THAT CHILDREN NEED NOT BE BORN
IN A MARRIAGE, THAT THEY CAN BE
BORN TO PEOPLE WHO ARE
CO- --CO-HABITING AND TO BE OPEN TO
VARIOUS TYPES OF RELATIONSHIPS,
INCLUDING GAY AND LESBIAN
RELATIONSHIPS AND CHILDREN IN
THOSE RELATIONSHIPS.
ALL THIS HAS CONTRIBUTED TO
Québec’s HIGHER FERTILITY RATE
BY PAYING POLICY ATTENTION TO
THESE QUESTIONS.

Steve says SURE.
LET'S FINISH UP ON THIS NOTION.
YOU KNOW, THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE
OUT THERE WHO BELIEVE THAT WE
HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO INCREASE
THE POPULATION, TO PERPETUATE
THE SPECIES, THAT WE SHOULD HAVE
KIDS.
DO YOU FEEL THAT WAY?

The caption changes to “Canada’s Population Change. Why growth?”

Roderic says THOSE ARE
VERY INTERESTING QUESTIONS.
I THINK THAT, OF COURSE, WE DO
NEED TO HAVE SOME CHILDREN.
THERE NEEDS TO BE -- FOR THE
POPULATION TO CONTINUE, SOME
CHILDREN NEED TO BE BORN.
IT MAKES SENSE THAT THAT IS NOT
JUST A DECISION THAT INVOLVES
ONESELF, IT AFFECTS OTHERS.
SO IT MAKES SENSE THAT OTHERS
GET INVOLVED IN THOSE DECISIONS
AND PUSH US ONE WAY OR THE
OTHER.
I THINK THAT WHEN WE HAVE TOO
MANY CHILDREN, PEOPLE SAY, WELL,
WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT?
YOU'RE HAVING TOO MANY THERE.
IT'S NOT GOING TO WORK.
WHEN WE HAVE TOO FEW CHILDREN,
ESPECIALLY, I THINK, POTENTIAL
GRANDPARENTS BECOME CONCERNED
THAT THEY WON'T HAVE THE
PLEASURE OF GRANDCHILDREN AROUND
THEM.
I LIKE TO USE THE EXAMPLE THAT
WHEN I WAS EXPECTING MY
FOURTH -- MY THIRD CHILD, I WAS
AT A PLACE TO HAVE A DRINK WITH
PEOPLE FROM MY DEPARTMENT AND I
SAID THIS TO THE PEOPLE THERE,
THAT WE WERE EXPECTING A THIRD
CHILD.
AND MY THEN CHAIR OF THE
DEPARTMENT SAID, “ARE YOU HAVING
ANY MORE?”
AS IF TO SAY, SURELY YOU KNOW
THREE IS ENOUGH.
SO I THINK THAT WE ALL
EXPERIENCE AND PUSH EACH OTHER
IN THOSE WAYS.
TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION MORE
DIRECTLY, I THINK THAT WE SHOULD
SUPPORT PEOPLE WHO HAVE CHILDREN
AND THAT SOMEWHERE IN THE ORDER
OF FERTILITY RATE OF 1.7, 1.8 IS
GOOD FOR CANADIAN SOCIETY, BUT
AT THE SAME TIME, WE PROBABLY
NEED TO HAVE SOME PEOPLE HAVING
NO CHILDREN BECAUSE THERE ARE
SOME WHO HAVE THREE OR MORE, AND
SO TO COMPENSATE FOR THOSE AND
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NO CHILDREN
OR ONE CHILD, IT'S IMPORTANT TO
REMEMBER THAT THERE'S VARIOUS
WAYS TO REPRODUCE OURSELVES.
IT NEED NOT BE BIOLOGICAL
REPRODUCTION.
THERE'S VARIOUS WAYS TO BE
SUPPORTING OF THE NEXT
GENERATION, AND PEOPLE WITHOUT
CHILDREN CAN DO THAT VERY WELL
AS WELL.

Steve says HAVE YOU COME TO ANY
CONCLUSIONS AS A RESULT OF YOUR
RESEARCH AS TO WHAT THE IDEAL
NUMBER OF CHILDREN ANY FAMILY --
AND DEFINE FAMILY HOW YOU
WANT -- ANY FAMILY SHOULD HAVE?

Roderic says THAT'S A
QUESTION THAT WE ASK IN
DEMOGRAPHY AND OF COURSE
DEMOGRAPHERS HAVE THEIR OWN VIEW
ON THAT.
MY OWN SENSE IS THAT TWO IS A
VERY GOOD NUMBER.
IT MAKES FOR THE POTENTIAL FOR
INTERACTION --

Steve says YOU DIDN'T TAKE YOUR
OWN ADVICE, PROFESSOR.

Roderic says THREE IS
GREAT.
IT MAKES FOR A LOT MORE
INTERACTION BECAUSE THERE ARE
THREE OF THEM THERE.
IF ALL OF US HAD THREE CHILDREN,
I THINK WE WOULD HAVE A PROBLEM
IN THIS WORLD, WHICH IS THAT WE
NEED THE POPULATION TO COME TO A
STABLE POINT AND CANADA NEEDS TO
PLAY A ROLE IN THAT.
THE U.N. HAS FOR MANY DECADES
CONCLUDED THAT THE SOONER WE
ARRIVE AT A STABLE POPULATION
FOR THE WORLD, THE MORE WE'LL BE
ABLE TO LIVE WITHIN THE
CONFINES -- ECOLOGY OF THIS
PLANET.

Steve says UNDERSTOOD.
RODERIC BEAUJOT, PROFESSOR
EMERITUS SOCIOLOGY, WESTERN
UNIVERSITY, IT'S GOOD OF YOU
TO JOIN US ON TVO TONIGHT.
THANK YOU.

Roderic says THE PLEASURE
IS MINE.

The caption changes to “Canada’s Population Change. theagenda.tvo.org”

Watch: Canada's Changing Demographics