The Population in Collective Dwellings: Canada, 1971-1991 - ARCHIVED

Articles and reports: 91F0015M1996002


This paper attempts to rescue a small but nonetheless important segment of the Canadian population from neglect, those classified by the census as long-term residents in collective dwellings. In 1991, 440,000 Canadians belonged to this population, living in nursing homes, correctional institutions, rooming houses and the like. The changing age-sex structure of the Canadian population caused their number to increase between 1971 and 1991, despite the fact that Canadian men and women were less likely at most ages to live in collective dwellings in the latter year.

Non-census data on several segments of this population are reviewed, especially for people in health-related institutions and in correctional facilities, and reveal that long-term residents are in each case a small fraction of a much larger population with a relatively brief contact with the institution on average. This review concludes that non-census data can provide a useful context for the study of the population in collective dwellings, but that the census is at present the only data source providing a comprehensive overview, despite the limited data collected and the even more limited data published.

Special tabulations from the 1971, 1981 and 1991 censuses are used to explore its changing size and age-sex structure with particular attention to three of its components, people in health-related institutions, in service collective dwellings and in religious institutions. A significant difference between people in collective dwellings and those in private dwellings is that the former have, whether willingly or unwillingly, left the family circle. Hence, marital status is a key variable, and is used to show the close relationship between the changing marital status of the population, in particular the declining numbers of the never married and the growing numbers of separated, widowed or divorced older women, and structural changes.

Issue Number: 1996002
Author(s): Smith, Gordon

Main Product: Demographic Documents

FormatRelease dateMore information
PDFDecember 20, 1996