Canada Life Expectancy

Canada has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. According to Statistics Canada, the country had a life expectancy of 82.3 years in 2019.

This means that Canada is ranked 14th in the world for life expectancy.

However, life expectancy figures dropped to 81.7 years in 2020, with Covid becoming the third major cause of death. This was the largest decline ever observed since 1921.

Life expectancy text concept isolated over white background

Life expectancy refers to the average age people are expected to live. This measure is used to analyze the general health of a population.

Comparing life expectancy figures of different groups and nations gives us a basic idea about their living conditions

Canada Life Expectancy for Males and Females

Canadian males have a lower life expectancy than females. The difference in life expectancies for both genders has carried on for centuries, most apparently in lower-income groups. 

In 2019, the World Bank reported a life expectancy of 80 years for men and 84.2 years for women in Canada.

Comparatively, the life expectancy for males born in Canada in 1990 was 74 years, while females were expected to live for 81 years.

Life expectancy has increased gradually for both genders since 1921. However, the male life expectancy in Canada turned stagnant for three consecutive years from 2015 to 2017.

This stagnation was not a result of a decline in old men’s’ health.

Instead, the opioid crisis in Canada increased mortality rates amongst males aged 25 to 40, halting the life expectancy figures. 

  • British Columbian males had the highest life expectancy at 80.5 years in 2015. However, their life expectancy figures kept declining for the following three years. By 2018, the life expectancy of British Columbian males had declined to 79.9 years.
  • Ontario also faced a drop in life expectancy for the first time in decades.

Why Do Females Live Longer than Men?

Females in most countries live longer than males.

But that has not always been the case – data from the 19th century, for example, shows that historically men tended to live longer than women.

There is limited evidence as to why women tend live longer today than men, but we can make some educated guesses.

Many people believe that women live longer because they have a lower risk-bearing ratio than men. This extends to health, where women are arguably better at handling stress and paying attention to their health than men.

The use of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs is also more associated with men than women, which may significantly contribute to the disparity in life expectancy of both genders.

Here is a chart sourced from the World Bank that shows the difference between the life expectancies of males and females from 2010 to 2019.

Male and female life expectancy in Canada

Canada Birth Rate

Canada has a very low birth rate compared to other countries like Niger, Uganda, and Mali (the top three countries ranked according to birth rate).

The chart below produced from the World Bank’s reports shows Canada’s persistently decreasing birth rate from 2010 to 2019.

YearBirth rate
Canada birth rate by year

Low birth rates in Canada can be attributed to a number of reasons, including:

  • Ever-increasing housing costs that have discouraged Canadians from starting or expanding their families.
  • Slow wage growth has also contributed to the continuous decline in birth rates.
  • Lack of job security and the rise of the gig economy in Canada are other factors that make Canadians wait longer and have fewer children.
  • The overall cost of raising a child has also increased significantly.

Canada Death Rate

According to the World Bank, the death rate in Canada has been around 7 to 8 deaths per 1000 people from 2010 to 2019. This is illustrated in the chart below:

YearDeath Rate
Canada death rate by year

Let’s compare these rates to the countries with the highest and lowest death rates. 

  • According to the U.N., the top three countries with the highest death rates are Bulgaria with a death rate of around 15.4, Ukraine with a death rate of around 15.2, and Latvia with a death rate of around 14.6 deaths per 1000 people from 2015 to 2020.
  • The top three countries with the lowest death rates are Qatar with a death rate of 1.2, the United Arab Emirates with a death rate of around 1.5, and Bahrain with a death rate of around 2.4 deaths per 1000 people between 2015 and 2020.

Most Common Cause of Death in Canada

Another major cause that has emerged in the past few decades is the ongoing opioid crisis in the country. 

British Columbia is the province that has been most affected by this crisis, with a death rate double the national average.

The most common death in Canada is the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular issues and cancers. 

In 2020, Covid was declared the third-leading cause of death because there were 7.7 percent more deaths that year in comparison to 2019. 

Other common causes of death in Canada are accidents, unintentional injuries, and the legal approval of medically assisted deaths.

Why Is Life Expectancy High in Canada?

Canada has a higher life expectancy than most countries because of its relatively lower rates of smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse rates than other countries.

Another major contributor to Canada’s high life expectancy figure is the literacy rate of the country. 56% of adults have finished a vocational program, two-year degree, or four-year degree. 

Also, Canada has an effective healthcare system, and it invests well in improving the living conditions of the people living there.

Canada vs USA Life Expectancy

Canadians have a higher life expectancy than Americans.

In 2019, Canada had a life expectancy of around 82 years compared to the USA’s 79 years.

Many analysts believe that the major cause of the disparity between the life expectancies of both countries is the accessibility to healthcare facilities.

In the USA, access to healthcare facilities depends on their insurance coverage. Privatized hospitals in the USA are based on profit, while healthcare is publicized in Canada. 

Canada Life Expectancy by Province

Although Canada has one of the top life expectancies globally, there is a wide range in life expectancy between different provinces and territories.

Let’s look at some figures from 2017 to understand the territorial differences.

British Columbia8084
Alberta, Ontario, Quebec79-8083-84
Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia70-8073-83
Life expectancy variation between provinces and territories

The rural or remote areas of Canada have lower life expectancies because of the following reasons:

  • Limited access to healthcare facilities
  • Increased rates of smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug abuse
  • High levels of unemployment
  • Low literacy rates
  • A larger composition of the Aboriginal population