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2006 Census: Families, marital status, households and dwelling characteristics

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The Daily

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Statistics Canada today releases a "family portrait" of Canadians using the third set of data from the 2006 Census. This release examines developments in families, marital status, households and living arrangements in Canada between 2001 and 2006, and how children fit into these evolving family structures.

In addition, it provides information on the number of same-sex couples, both those living in a common-law union and, for the first time, those who are married.

In total, the census enumerated 8,896,840 census families in 2006, up 6.3% from 2001.

The census enumerated 6,105,910 married-couple families, an increase of only 3.5% from 2001. In contrast, the number of common-law-couple families surged 18.9% to 1,376,865, while the number of lone-parent families increased 7.8% to 1,414,060.

Consequently, married-couple families accounted for 68.6% of all census families in 2006, down from 70.5% five years earlier. The proportion of common-law-couple families rose from 13.8% to 15.5%, while the share of lone-parent families increased slightly from 15.7% to 15.9%.

Two decades ago, common-law-couple families accounted for only 7.2% of all census families. Married-couple families represented 80.2%, and lone-parent families, 12.7%.

In Quebec, where the prevalence of common-law-couple families has been one of the defining family patterns for years, the number of common-law-couple families increased 20.3% between 2001 and 2006 to 611,855. They accounted for 44.4% of the national total. Close to one-quarter (23.4%) of all common-law-couple families in Canada lived in the two census metropolitan areas of Montréal and Québec.

Among lone-parent families, growth between 2001 and 2006 was most rapid for families headed by men. Their number increased 14.6%, more than twice the rate of growth of 6.3% among those headed by women.

Same-sex married couples counted for the first time

The number of same-sex couples surged 32.6% between 2001 and 2006, five times the pace of opposite-sex couples (+5.9%).

For the first time, the census counted same-sex married couples, reflecting the legalization of same-sex marriages for all of Canada as of July 2005. In total, the census enumerated 45,345 same-sex couples, of which 7,465, or 16.5%, were married couples.

Half of all same-sex couples in Canada lived in the three largest census metropolitan areas, Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver, in 2006. Toronto accounted for 21.2% of all same-sex couples, Montréal, 18.4% and Vancouver, 10.3%.

In 2006, same-sex couples represented 0.6% of all couples in Canada. This is comparable to data from New Zealand (0.7%) and Australia (0.6%).

Over half (53.7%) of same-sex married spouses were men in 2006, compared with 46.3% who were women. Proportions were similar among same-sex common-law partners in both 2006 and 2001.

About 9.0% of persons in same-sex couples had children aged 24 years and under living in the home in 2006. This was more common for females (16.3%) than for males (2.9%) in same-sex couples.

Households: Large increase in one-person households

Since 2001, there has been a large increase in one-person households.

During this time, the number of one-person households increased 11.8%, more than twice as fast as the 5.3% increase for the total population in private households. At the same time, the number of households consisting of couples without children aged 24 years and under increased 11.2% since 2001.

The households with the slowest growth between 2001 and 2006 were those comprised of couples and children aged 24 years and under; these households edged up only 0.4%.

Between 2001 and 2006, the number of private households increased 7.6%, while the population in private households rose 5.3%.

The census counted more than three times as many one-person households as households with five or more persons in 2006. Of the 12,437,470 private households, 26.8% were one-person households, while 8.7% were households of five or more persons.

More young adults living with their parents

Over the last two decades, one of the trends for young adults has been their growing tendency to remain in, or return to, the parental home. This upward trend has continued over the past five years.

In 2006, 43.5% of the 4 million young adults aged 20 to 29 lived in the parental home, up from 41.1% in 2001. Twenty years ago, 32.1% of young adults lived with their parents.

Among individuals aged 20 to 24, 60.3% were in the parental home in 2006, up from 49.3% in 1986. Among those aged 25 to 29, 26.0% were in the parental home in 2006, up from 15.6% two decades earlier.

Saskatchewan (31.8%) and Alberta (31.7%) had the lowest proportions of young adults aged 20 to 29 living in the parental home in 2006. Among the other provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador (52.2%) and Ontario (51.5%) had the highest.

Among the census metropolitan areas, Toronto had the highest proportion of young adults who lived in their parents' home in 2006. Nearly 6 in 10 (57.9%) young adults aged 20 to 29 lived with their parents in Toronto, well above the national average (43.5%).

Unmarried people outnumber legally married people for the first time

For the first time, the census enumerated more unmarried people aged 15 and over than legally married people.

In 2006, more than one-half (51.5%) of the adult population were unmarried, that is, never married, divorced, separated or widowed, compared with 49.9% five years earlier. Conversely, only 48.5% of persons aged 15 and over were legally married in 2006, down from 50.1% in 2001.

Twenty years earlier, 38.6% of the population aged 15 and over were unmarried, while 61.4% were married.

Housing data: Information on dwelling characteristics available now

Information on the following dwelling characteristics from the 2006 Census is released today: the type of dwelling (house or apartment); whether it is owned or rented; the condition of the dwelling; the number of rooms and bedrooms; the period of construction; and an indicator to identify the main person in the household who pays the rent, mortgage, electricity, etc.

Information on shelter costs will be released on May 1, 2008. An analytical article incorporating both of these topics will be released in June 2008.

2006 Census sub-module

Also released today are various products and services available from the 2006 Census sub-module on our website. By clicking on the Release topics and dates link, then on Families and households, or Marital status, or Housing and shelter costs, users will find the 2006 Census data on the marital status, common-law status, families, dwellings and households of the Canadian population. The information on this web page is organized into three broad categories: Data products, Analysis series, and Geography.

The Data products category presents the marital status, common-law status, families, dwellings and households data for a wide range of standard geographic areas. Data are available through the Families and households highlight tables, the Topic-based tabulations, the Profile release components, the 2006 Community Profiles and the Census tract (CT) profiles.

The Analysis series category presents the families and households analytical perspective report entitled Family Portrait: Continuity and Change in Canadian Families and Households in 2006, 2006 Census, which includes a vignette.

The Geography category presents thematic maps containing family and household data for standard geographic areas in Canada. By using GeoSearch2006, an interactive mapping tool, users will find any area in Canada, as well as a corresponding map of the area with its population count. A large collection of supplementary geography reference material and maps is also available.

The next release of data from the 2006 Census is scheduled for December 4, 2007. This release will provide information on language, immigration, citizenship, and mobility and migration. Four further census data releases are scheduled through to May 2008.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3901.

For more information, please contact Media Relations (613-951-4636), Communications and Library Services Division.