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Visualising the distribution of individuals of advanced age in Canada: linking census data to maps

Romanski J, Wu W, Anderson PJ, Austin PC, Rochon PA. Age Ageing. 2015; 44(3):511-4. Epub 2015 Jan 19.


Objective — To link publically available aggregate census data to maps to visually convey information about the geographic distribution of those of advanced age in Canada.

Method — The researchers obtained aggregate statistics derived from the most recent 2011 Canadian census data. We calculated the Percentage of People 90 Years of Age or Older and the Longevity Index in each of the 292 census divisions. The data and the Canadian census division map were merged to create thematic maps using Google Fusion Tables.

Results — Overall, there were 217,930 women and men who were 90 years of age or older in Canada in 2011. The regions with the highest proportion of elderly residents are in the south, rather than in the north of Canada. Southern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba emerged as high longevity areas based on both indices.

Conclusions — Publically available data and free online tools can be used to create maps that visually display the geographic distribution of the oldest population across Canada. This approach provides an efficient way to observe patterns, identify adjacencies and perceive information that may not have been anticipated. This approach can be replicated in other jurisdictions using publically available data.

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Keywords: Geriatrics and aging Data collection

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