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Families with children becoming less common in BC

04 August 2017, 12:38 | Melanie Burgess

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With 2017 marking Canada's 150 birthday, Statistics Canada is highlighting how Canadians' lives at home have evolved since Confederation.

The average Grande Prairie household has 2.6 people in it and the average family consists of three people, which is also the provincial average.

These changes are the results of demographic shifts, such as population aging and increasing ethnocultural diversity, as well as social, economic and legislative changes.

The number of multi-generational families, or at least three generations living under the same roof, increased 37.5% but still only makeup 2.9% of all households across the country, or 3.9% in Ontario.

Still, one-person households were the most common type of household in the country a year ago for the first time in the country's history.

The story of Canada's 5.8 million children between the ages of 0 and 14 is particularly revealing.

ONE-PERSON households accounted for 28.2% of all households in 2016-the highest share since Confederation in 1867. "It measured common-law unions for the first time in 1981, same-sex couples in 2001, and foster children and stepfamilies in 2011".

The trend is also prominent in Indigenous communities: in Nunavut, one in eight households was multigenerational, while in the Northwest Territories, the living arrangement makes up 4.3% of all households. The national average in 1951 was just 7.4%.

Traditional married still a majority of couples Married folk are still the majority of couples in 2016, although numbers of common law couples have increased. An aging population and higher life expectancy have also contributed to the rise in one-person households - there are more seniors living alone compared to other age groups.

The share of one-person households increased the most in the Atlantic provinces compared to the rest of the country during the past 15 years, the latest census data from Statistics Canada shows.

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More young adults are also living alone or with roommates, and fewer have started their own families than in the past.

That mirrors trends in the United States and the United Kingdom but is still significantly lower than other developed countries. "Depression certainly being one of them". The percentages were still higher in Sweden (36.2% in 2011), Norway (40.0% in 2012) and Germany (41.4% in 2015).

In B.C., however, child-free couples are now the majority.

"Young adults may be living with their parents because they never left home or because they returned home".

Couples with children made up 26.5 per cent of all households, down from 31.5 per cent in 2001.

Rising Canadian housing costs have boosted the number of people living with their parents, mostly notably in and around Toronto, according to census data released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday.

The proportion of couples living with children has been decreasing for some time. As the large baby-boom generation-people born from 1946 to 1965-grows older, more and more couples are becoming empty nesters due to their children leaving home.

And in Toronto and Oshawa, nearly half of young adults (47.4 and 47.2 per cent) are living with their parents, the highest rate in the country.

Of the 14.1 million households in Canada in 2016, 28.2 per cent comprised only a single person - the highest proportion of single-person households ever recorded and the most common living arrangement captured in the 2016 count, a first for the country.



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