ONTD Political

Canada’s families shifting from marriage to common-law, same-sex couples increasing

10:59 am - 09/19/2012

OTTAWA — The sanctity of marriage as the bedrock of the Canadian family is steadily eroding as the country’s social fabric evolves, new census data released Wednesday reveals.

Instead, although married couples are still the norm — about two thirds of families — their numbers are lagging and only increased by 3.1 per cent between 2006 and 2011.

In contrast, the number of common-law couples rose by 13.9 per cent and lone-parent families rose by eight per cent over the same period.

The shift means that common-law couples now account for 16.7 per cent of all families, and lone-parent families now represent 16.3 per cent of the total.

Meanwhile, in another trend reflective of the changing social landscape, same-sex couples are increasingly settling down together. Notably, the number of same-sex marriages tripled between 2006 and 2011, the first five-year period during which they could legally tie the knot in Canada.

These are some of the main findings of the data from the 2011 census compiled by Statistics Canada.

The census also contained new information about Canadian stepfamilies, also known as “blended families,” showing that they represent about one in eight couples with children.

Indeed, the census contains a rich trove of information about the kinds of households where the country’s children now live.

Increasingly, fewer kids are living in homes with married parents, and more are living with common-law parents and single parents.

Of the nearly 5.6 million children aged 14 and under, 63.6 per cent lived with married parents in 2011 compared with 68.4 per cent in 2001. Over the same period, the percentage of kids living with common-law parents rose from 12.8 per cent to 16.3 per cent.

Nearly 1,078,600 children — 19.3 per cent of all children in private households — lived with lone parents in 2011, up from 18 per cent a decade earlier.

More than four out of five children (82.3 per cent) in those circumstances lived with a lone female parent.

Meanwhile, 557,950 children aged 14 and under lived in stepfamilies in 2011 — 10 per cent of all children.

Also, just over 30,000, or 0.5 per cent of the total, lived in “skip-generation” families — with one or both grandparents where no parents were present.

Also, for the first time, the census counted the number of foster children. There were 29,590 kids aged 14 and under in foster care — about 0.5 per cent of the country’s total in this age group.

Statistics Canada also revealed a continuing trend in which the number of couples with children continued to fall as a share of all families. Last year, 39.2 per cent of families included children, compared to 44.5 per cent without kids.

Also, it found that families themselves are becoming smaller. The average number of children per family fell from 2.7 in 1961 to 1.9 in 2011.

The census also discovered that a recent trend — many young people, particularly men, in their 20s not leaving their parents’ home — has not abated.

Of the 4.3 million people in this age group, 42.3 per cent lived with their parents last year — relatively unchanged from 2006, but well above the share of 32.1 per cent in 1991 and 26.9 per cent in 1981.

Meanwhile, a higher share of seniors lived as part of a couple in a private household in 2011, compared with a decade earlier. About one in every 12 seniors lived in a collective dwelling such a nursing home or a senior citizens’ residence.

The figures come from a third batch of data that Statistics Canada has released this year from its May 10, 2011, census of Canadians.

The agency said that its census counted 9,389,700 families in Canada, up 5.5 per cent from the 2006 census.

Statistics Canada said married couples remained the “predominant family structure” last year, but that the share has “decreased over time.”

In 1961, married couples accounted for 91.6 per cent of Canadian families. By 2001, the share had dipped to 70 per cent and slipped further to 68.6 per cent in 2006 and 67 per cent last year.

Statistics Canada reported that there were 6.3 million married couples last year, compared to 6.1 million in 2006 — an increase of just 3.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, there were 1.6 million common-law couples versus 1.4 million in 2006. Similarly, there were 1.5 million lone-parent families compared to 1.4 million in 2006.

About eight in 10 lone-parent families were led by mothers. However, the statistics reveal that the growth in lone-parent families over the last five years was more than twice as strong for males (a 16.2-per-cent hike) compared with females (six per cent).

The census revealed there has been a significant rise in same-sex couples — with a sharp increase in the number of those who have legally become married.

That is likely due to the fact the legal landscape has changed dramatically. In 2005, Parliament passed legislation to make Canada the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

Last year, there were 64,575 same-sex couple families, up 42.4 per cent from 2006. Of these couples, 43,560 were common-law couples, while 21,015 were married.

By comparison, in 2006 there were 37,900 common-law couples and just 7,500 same-sex married couples.

That growth shift — from 7,500 to 21,015 married same sex-couples — is a significant increase over just five years. But Statistics Canada also reveals that despite the change, same-sex married couples represent just 0.3 per cent of all Canadian couples.


WTF is that first sentence?

sherlockholmes 19th-Sep-2012 10:28 pm (UTC)
....Before July of 2005 same-sex marriage wasn't legal or recognised in all of Canada. (2003 in some spots) Wouldn't it make sense that, you know, something would rise from nothing to something when it's finally being recognised?

The fact that this article even hints that the sanctity of marriage 'eroding' because of same-sex couples makes me ill. Maybe they were being facetious or maybe they meant it was eroding because of divorce rates and single-parentdom or whatever --- but that doesn't make it better.

Just... gross.
(no subject) - Anonymous
sherlockholmes 19th-Sep-2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
I just don't like the tone of this article at all. To me, staying or getting married for the wrong reasons is the only fucking thing that blows a goddamn hole in the 'sanctity' of marriage because the whole point is that it's supposed to be an expression of love-honour-and-cherish. It doesn't matter who you marry and it doesn't matter if you divorce (or are single) because if you ain't keeping the damn vows then that's that.

This article made me feel like my mom. To the article I was like: "I don't like your tone, Missy."
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
effervescent 20th-Sep-2012 06:15 am (UTC)
Last census was in July of 2006, so I think that's what they're referring to. There had been one full year where same sex couples could get married.

The rest of the article is gross, though.
sherlockholmes 20th-Sep-2012 11:22 am (UTC)
So there was a big increase between the number of gay marriages in one year... and the number of gay marriages in the next six years.

colour me shocked.
poetic_pixie_13 19th-Sep-2012 10:36 pm (UTC)
The sanctity of marriage as the bedrock of the Canadian family is steadily eroding as the country’s social fabric evolves

Just as planned...

Seriously, tho. My family has, if anything, only been strengthened by the queerness in our family (chosen and blood related). From the time I was sixteen I knew my parents would always love me and have my back. My little sister would always be a little shit who would tell me it didn't matter who I fell in love with, I'd be forever alone while being vocally pro-queer at school. (We do love each other, promise. XD) My brother... well, my brother is the gayest little straight boy ever and my parents are totally fine with it. My queer and trans friends know they'll always have somewhere to go during Thanksgiving or Christmas or whenever, really, where they can be themselves as they eat, drink and are merry.

The sanctity of my family is doing just fine, asshats.

Edited at 2012-09-19 10:38 pm (UTC)
romp 20th-Sep-2012 07:02 am (UTC)
Aw! I love stories of unconditional love.
halfshellvenus 19th-Sep-2012 10:51 pm (UTC)
Some would say that all the same-sex couples getting married is an AFFIRMATION of the "sanctity of marriage."

You know?
sherlockholmes 19th-Sep-2012 11:26 pm (UTC)
Ugh. This.
flcadam 19th-Sep-2012 10:58 pm (UTC)
I'm really interested to see what Canada and other countries that have legalized SSM look like about 20-40 years down the road. I think it's cool that we get to stand back and let these others countries play guinea pig with this.
sherlockholmes 19th-Sep-2012 11:31 pm (UTC)
...I really hope it doesn't take the United States (and by that I mean, certain states) 20 or 40 fucking years to realise everyone deserves equal rights. If anything, the fact that the United States isn't legalising SSM says more about it as a country than the statistics in any country where it is legal, to be perfectly honest.

Edited at 2012-09-19 11:36 pm (UTC)
queenbathory 20th-Sep-2012 02:16 am (UTC)
"...I really hope it doesn't take the United States (and by that I mean, certain states) 20 or 40 fucking years to realise everyone deserves equal rights."

beemo 20th-Sep-2012 01:07 am (UTC)
this is not a social experiment. i'm glad you think it's so damn interesting that other americans are being denied their rights.
zombieroadtrip 20th-Sep-2012 01:20 am (UTC)
yeah it's so cool that we don't have equal marriage rights yet

you're so awesome and apathetic, teach me to care less like you
tallycola 20th-Sep-2012 02:55 am (UTC)
It'll probably look pretty similar to now, except with more married gay people, and maybe jetpacks.
elialshadowpine 20th-Sep-2012 05:14 am (UTC)
Dude, really?
effervescent 20th-Sep-2012 06:11 am (UTC)

Seriously, what the hell is this comment? Being Canadian, I figure they'll probably look about the same, but hopefully better than they would otherwise.
zinnia_rose 20th-Sep-2012 06:52 am (UTC)
what is this comment
romp 20th-Sep-2012 07:07 am (UTC)
Please, go on with your interest in guinea pigs. What possible futures do you see?

People have been raised by same-sex couples for decades. I raised my older child for about 15 years before I was able to get married--I don't think he's experienced a vastly different childhood from my younger child who was a preschooler when his mothers married. Please tell me what I might be missing.
flcadam 20th-Sep-2012 07:38 am (UTC)
I'm curious to see where the rate of homosexuality ends up. Will experimentation become more prevalent when attitudes become more relaxed? I'm also curious to see what happens to heterosexual marriage and traditional male/female unions.

I've met so many people in the states who flutter around with homosexuality and then eventually stick to traditional marriages, that I'm convinced that removing restrictions on SSM and relaxing negative perceptions of same-sex unions would lead to an increase in same-sex activity to a level where it would impact our broader culture. Anyways, I think it's neat that other countries are kind of going first on this one so that we won't have to just sit around and speculate.
(no subject) - Anonymous
flcadam 20th-Sep-2012 07:42 am (UTC)
I'm reading that they legalized in in 2001.


I personally think that Western Europe is going to have major social/economic problems because of their low birthrates; however, I don't necessarily blame SSM for the low birth rates.
fuckfrosti 20th-Sep-2012 02:30 pm (UTC)
I think it's cool that we get to stand back and let these others countries play guinea pig with this.

title or description
beemo 20th-Sep-2012 01:21 am (UTC)
so peeved with the tone of this article, and i was very surprised to see an article like this or similar to it in the toronto star. my next thought was "i hope fox news doesn't hear about this."

these trends are happening because women have the nerve to do something besides get married at the age of 18, and people with immigrant parents (a huuuge demographic) aren't usually in a hurry to move out. people in same-sex relationships don't have the numbers to "erode" anything.

brb ruining society with my independent vagina tho

lurkch 20th-Sep-2012 01:59 am (UTC)
I hate when the media tries to analyze population statistics. Any analysis without accounting for the massive baby boom bulge in the demographics is useless especially when looking at age-dependent events like kids and marriage. Trying to put a religious morality spin on top of that is lazy and unsupportable.
ultimaaa 20th-Sep-2012 02:43 am (UTC)
Given the source article (specifically, the province it originates from), the first sentence really doesn't surprise me at all. :|
beemo 20th-Sep-2012 01:20 pm (UTC)
that article is syndicated nationally, i don't think it's an alberta thing

fuckfrosti 20th-Sep-2012 02:31 pm (UTC)
Yep. Mark Kennedy is based in Ottawa, IIRC.
romp 20th-Sep-2012 07:09 am (UTC)
the numbers may be because of miscounting roomies...but will we ever know?
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