Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey

    Canadians' connections with family and friends


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    • According to the 2013 GSS, 16 million Canadians or over half (55%) of people aged 15 years and older reported that they felt close to at least five family members, including those living within and outside their home.
    • People had about as many close friends as close relatives. Half of all Canadians (51%) said they had five or more close friends, with very few (6%) saying they had none. In addition, 47% of Canadians reported having at least 20 “other” friends.
    • Younger Canadians were more likely to report a larger social network. Canadians under 25 had a median number of 24 ‘other’ friends, 38% higher than those aged 45 to 54, and more than twice as high as seniors aged 65 years and older.
    • Canadians were just as likely to stay in regular contact with family living outside their home, as they were with friends. Eight in ten Canadians (82%) had communicated with their family on a weekly basis in the last month, similar to the proportion (83%) regularly contacting their friends.
    • People were more likely to regularly connect with family by phone, while they more often saw, sent text messages or emailed their friends.
    • The large majority of Canadians (82%) were satisfied with how often they connected with family and friends.
    • Canadians said that the majority of their friends contacted in the last month had the same mother tongue, were the same age, gender and education level. Few (9%) indicated that most of their friends were visibly different from them.
    • Levels of life satisfaction were somewhat higher among people with more connections with family, close friends and ‘other’ friends.
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