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Traditional family households shrink to new low in Canada

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

OTTAWA, August 2, 2017 (LifeSiteNews)According to data released by Statistics Canada today, the traditional family in Canada has reached an all-time low. The most common type of household is now composed of a single person living alone.

These findings are from the third series of data in the 2016 Census. This series focuses on families, households, marital status, and language.

“The data provide a portrait of a country where diverse living arrangements have replaced the family models of the past,” said the governmental agency.

“Through the years, the census has been used as a barometer to accurately capture changes in Canadian households and families. It measured common-law unions for the first time in 1981, same-sex couples in 2001, and foster children and stepfamilies in 2011.”

According to Statistics Canada, the average family household in 1871 was 5.6 people. By 2016, this had dropped to 2.4 people per average household. But “one-person households accounted for 28.2 percent of all households in 2016 — the highest share since Confederation in 1867.”  

Single-person households were also the most common type of household in Canada in 2016.  

Lowest level of households with children on record Single-person households have therefore dethroned the standard Dad, Mom, and children family as the most common Canadian household.

Households composed of couples (including same-sex households) with children fell from 31.5 percent of all households in 2001 to 26.5 percent in 2016.

According to Statistics Canada, the number of couples living without children rose faster (+7.2 percent) than the number of couples with children (+2.3 percent) from 2001 to 2016. As a result, the percentage of couples living with at least one child fell from 56.7 percent in 2001 to 51.1 percent in 2016.

“This is the lowest level on record,” said the government body.

It points to the aging population for this shift. As the Baby Boomer generation (Canadians born between 1946 and 1965) has aged, their children have grown up and left home. However, the numbers of Baby Boomer empty-nesters has been slightly offset by a larger number of adults living at home with their parents, a trend visible over the past 40 years.

In 2016, the proportion of couples with children was highest in Nunavut (76 percent) and lowest in Nova Scotia (42.8 percent). Ontario’s proportion of households composed of couples with children was 54.5 percent.

Traditional married still a majority of couples Married folk are still the majority of couples in 2016, although numbers of common law couples have increased. In 2016, more than one-fifth of all couples (21.3 percent) were living common law, more than three times the share in 1981 (6.3 percent). The largest proportion of common law couples versus married couples were found in Nunavut and Quebec.

There are proportionately more common law couples in Canada than in the United States or the United Kingdom. The proportion has grown steadily since Statistics Canada began to measure the frequency of common law couples in 1981.

Same-sex couples According to the 2016 Census, there were 72,880 same-sex couples in Canada, representing 0.9 percent of Canadian couples. One-third of them were “married.” Ontario had the most same-sex couples (26,585), but Quebec’s share was larger relative to its population. However, Quebec also had the lowest percentage of “married” same-sex couples.

In 2016, half of Canada’s same-sex couples were living in four cities: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa-Gatineau. Twelve percent of same-sex couples had children living with them.

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