Family Life: Definitions, Cultural Variations & Demographic Trends (09/16/2013)
*Portrait of families & living arrangements in Canada: Families, Households, Marital
status 2011 Census (Statistics Canada, 2012) –in Canada, a census is taken every 5yrs
-How to cite if website: date accessed/retrieval date
*Examples of family statistics:
-Decrease in marriage=inc phenomenon of common-law relationships
-Increasingly, young people are moving back home b/c of economy, life issues at
the same time there is a stigma about adults living w/ parents
-There are more people in relationships but living apart
2011 Census Families…
-2011 Census enumerated over almost 9 million census families in Canada—up 5.5%
from 2006. Married couples constituted the largest census family group (~67%). Their
proportion has been steadily decreasing for the past 20 years, ie. Fewer people are
getting married but married couples still make up the biggest proportion of census
-A census family…is composed of a married couple/common-law couple, w/ or w/o
children, or lone parent living w/ at least one child in the same dwelling. A couple can be
of the opposite/same sex. Persons not in the census families include those living alone
or individuals living w/ relatives/non-relatives, eg. in college dorms.
-In 2011, ~ 1/5 or 20% of people aged 15 & over didn’t live in a census family: 13.5%
lived alone, 4.5% are w/ non-relatives and 4.5% lived w/ other relatives. This is
significant b/c it means that there’s an inc of single people & of non-traditional
arrangements. The problem likes on sustainability, eg. if only 1 person is living in a
household, are we going to run out of houses?
Family life still persists…
-Cohabiting couples w/ children, lone parents w/ children & legally married couples w/
children make up the large portion of all Cdn households. More census families are w/o
children but there is still considerable diversity in household structure that exist in Cdn
Family Portrait: Census 2011 (2001 vs. 2006 vs. 2011)
-# of census families w/ children are decreasing vs. # of census families w/o children are
increasing (children move out, ppl are having less children, divorcess, etc.) # of common
law families w/ or w/o children are inc vs. # of lone parent w/ children is slightly inc vs.
lone parent w/ all children aged 25+ is also slightly inc. This tells us that census families
w/ children are dec and common law/lone-parent families w/o children are inc.
-Married couple w/ children living at home decreased from 37.4% of all census families
in 2001 to 31.9% in 2011. The inc of married couples w/o children may relate to the
aging popn as well as baby boomers’ children are now adults & are more likely to have
left their parental home.
Proportion of Children living w/ Married parents continue to decline (1986 vs. 1996 vs.
-There is a dec in children living w/ married parents vs. an inc in children living w/
common-law & lone-parents. Therefore, fewer children are living in traditional
arrangements & more are living in common-law & lone-parent arrangements.
Fertility Rates in Canada (children born/woman in child-bearing years then obtain an
average of children per woman)
-There was a baby boom b/w 2003-2007 thus there was soaring fertility rateDramatic
dec in fertility rate in 2008slight increase in fertility rates after 2008. -What caused the dramatic dec in fertility rates in 2008 may have been b/c of recession;
low fertility rates may mean that fewer ppl are paying taxes to keep up the economy, are
there enough workers to sustain the country (this lead to introduction of immigration)
-The overall trend of fertility rates in Canada is down due to a complex combination of
factors eg. urbanization, women’s paid employment (~30-40 years is the ave age
women were having children), declining religiosity (secularization), increases in women’s
educational attainment, improved contraception, etc.
-Number of common-law couples inc 13.9% b/w 2006-2011 (may be b/c more ppl report
due to less stigma or less people get married, etc.) The rate is rising 4x than the rate of
married couples & marginally surpassing the number of lone-parent families. Common-
law couples account for 16.7% of all census families & has been growing rapidly fo all
age groups but especially for older age groups.
-Common law: Census 2006 (1986 vs. 1996 vs. 2006)…For every 10 yr interval, there
are more common-law couples in each age group. There was a huge inc in 25-29 yr olds
in common law relationships as well as there were more in the 50-54 yr olds (may b/c
there is more acceptance/ don’t want to go through the hassle of marriage again)
-These inc are significant b/c an inc in common-law relationships suggests social
acceptance of family structure; fewer perceived emotional/financial obligations than
those assoc’d w/ traditional marriage. Common-law growth rates in 2006 was dramatic in