Census: what Canadian couples look like - Macleans.ca

Census: what Canadian couples look like

Married couples continue to dominate, but same-sex and common-laws are catching up


According to new census data from the Statistics Canada, the nation’s family structures are quickly changing.

The number of same-sex marriages nearly tripled between 2006 and 2011, and the number of same-sex common-law couples also rose by 42.4 per cent, the Canadian Press reports

Although the jump in same-sex marriage should come as no surprise—gay marriage was only officially legalized across Canada 2005—the rise in same-sex couples is more curious. The concentration of new same-sex couples in communities with higher rents, especially around the oil-patch, has some suggesting that some of the new couples were actually just roommates, and not romantically involved.

“We observed that there was a possible over estimation of same-sex families,” census manager Marc Hamel told The Canadian Press. “The counts for some smaller communities seemed too high.”

The number of heterosexual couples in common-law relationships also rose, they now make up 13.8 per cent of all couples. The Vancouver Sun reports that family with a step-parent rose to make up 1/8th of Canadian households, and more young Canadians are single. In 2011, 30.8 per cent of young adults in their 20s were in a couple, down from 32.8 per cent in 2006. In 1981, more than half (51.8 per cent) of young adults in their 20s were part of couples.

Other highlights from the Statistic Canada report:

• Married couples continue to be the most common family type, comprising 67 per cent of all census families.

• Continuing the new trend from 2006, there are more childless couples in Canada than couples with children.

• There are more male same-sex couples in Canada, but same-sex couples with children were overwhelmingly female.

• Same-sex couples are, on average, younger than heterosexual couples.

• 16.3 per cent of all families were lone-parent families.

• The number of young adults, age 20-29, living at home is no longer growing. It has leveled off and 40 per, the same as in 2006.

• Most twenty-somethings living at home they were male, single and under 24.

• 92 per cent of seniors (over 65) live in private households. The number of seniors living in nursing homes or retirement residences has remained stable, at roughly 7.9%, for a decade.

• Female seniors are twice as male seniors to live alone.

Filed under: