For the first time in history there are more seniors living in Canada than kids

The latest numbers from the 2016 census show waves of retiring baby boomers are now firmly crashing down on Canada's demographic shores, an urgent challenge for policymakers, planners and politicians alike.

The figures indicate the number of Canadians who are 65 or older grew 20 per cent between 2011 and 2016, surpassing for the first time the number of children aged 14 and under.

It's the largest increase for that age group in 70 years, and the highest increase in the proportion of seniors since Confederation.

Statistics Canada also found that 8,230 people had reached the age of 100 last year, making centenarians the fastest growing segment of the Canadian population at 41.3 per cent.

The agency says the aging of Canada's population is only going to accelerate over the coming decades as more and more baby boomers march towards retirement.

The census also found that while Canada's working-age population represents one of the largest proportions among G7 countries, there are two people about to retire from the workforce for every one poised to join it.

And in Atlantic Canada, nearly one in five people is over the age of 65, the highest proportion in the country, thanks to low fertility, low immigration and a persistent pattern of young people moving away.