Families in Canada: Parents Making It Work

In light of tomorrow’s federal budget release and speculation surrounding the possibility of the introduction of a new leave for second parents (paternity leave), the Vanier Institute of the Family has compiled related data and recent statistics about work, family and modern parenthood in Canada.

Below you can find up-to-date information and insights about parents in Canada and the evolving social, economic, cultural and environmental contexts that shape – and are shaped by – family life.

Women, Work and Family

  • In 2017, the labour force participation rate of women aged 25 to 54 was approximately 83%, a steady increase from only 52% in 1976.1Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey Estimates (LFS), by Sex and Detailed Age Group (CANSIM Table 282-0002) (page last updated January 5, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2p38FWs.
  • In 2016, the labour force participation rate of mothers whose youngest child was under 6 was 73%, up from 36% in 1976.2Canadian Institute of Child Health, “Module 8, Section 2: Labour Force Participation Rate,” The Health of Canada’s Children and Youth: A CICH Profile (2018). Link: http://bit.ly/2oq4xyZ.
  • In 2017, women accounted for three-quarters (74%) of part-time workers aged 25 to 54, down from 89% in 1976.3Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey Estimates (LFS), by Sex and Detailed Age Group.
  • In 2015, 69% of couple families with children had two earners, up from 36% in 1976.4Statistics Canada, “The Rise of the Dual-Earner Family with Children,” Canadian Megatrends, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 11-630-X (May 30, 2016). Link: http://bit.ly/25wbfED.
  • In 2015–2016, families who received both EI maternity and parental benefits used an average of 47 weeks on a family basis (of the available 50 weeks).5Employment and Social Development Canada, Employment Insurance Monitoring and Assessment Report for the Fiscal Year Beginning April 1, 2015 and Ending March 31, 2016 (May 10, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2GO3Xlj.

 

Fertility

  • In 2014, 44% of all births to first-time mothers were to women aged 30 and older, up from 28% in 1994.6Statistics Canada, Live Births, by Age and Parity of Mother, Canada (CANSIM Table 102-4508) (page last updated April 26, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2o4EP4D.
  • In 2014, 35% of all births were to women aged 30 to 34, nearly triple the share in 1970 (14%).7Statistics Canada, Live Births, by Age and Parity of Mother, Canada.
  • In 2014, 3.6% of all births were to mothers in their 40s, more than double the rate in 1994 (1.4%).8Statistics Canada, Live Births, by Age and Parity of Mother, Canada.

 

New Dads and Family Relationships

  • In 2016, 30% of all recent fathers across Canada reported that they took or intended to take parental leave, up from 3% in 2000.9Statistics Canada, “Employment Insurance Coverage Survey, 2016,” The Daily (December 15, 2016). Link: http://bit.ly/2CD3nIw., 10Katherine Marshall, “Fathers’ Use of Paid Parental Leave,” Perspectives on Labour and Income, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 75-001-X (June 2008). Link: http://bit.ly/1UgSdfz.
    • Much of the increase in the national rate is due to the large increase in fathers taking leave in Quebec following the introduction of the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) in 2006.
      • In 2016, 80% of Quebec dads reported that they claimed or intended to claim parental leave, up from 28% in 2005.11Statistics Canada, “Employment Insurance Coverage Survey, 2016.”
      • Outside Quebec, the share of recent dads who claimed or intended to claim parental leave increased from 11% to 13% over the same period.12Statistics Canada, “Employment Insurance Coverage Survey, 2016.”, 13Katherine Marshall.
  • In 2015–2016, 14% of parental benefits claims made were by men.14Employment and Social Development Canada.
  • A 2015 study found a “large and persistent impact” on gender dynamics in the three-year period following Quebec fathers’ use of paternity leave.15Ankita Patnaik, “‘Daddy’s Home!’ Increasing Men’s Use of Paternity Leave,” briefing paper prepared for the Council on Contemporary Families (April 2, 2015). Link: http://bit.ly/1Igwa0Y.
    • Fathers who took leave were found to be more likely to do housework (and spend 23% more time doing this work).
    • Mothers were found to be more likely to engage in paid work. Under QPIP, Quebec dads also spent an average half-hour more per day at the family home than those outside of Quebec.
    • A recent Statistics Canada study found that in 2015, 41% of surveyed fathers in Quebec reported having participated in cleaning, laundry and other housework that day, higher than in other regions across Canada, which ranged from 25% to 35%.16Patricia Houle, Martin Turcotte and Michael Wendt, “Changes in Parents’ Participation in Domestic Tasks and Care for Children from 1986 to 2015,” Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey, Statistics Canada catalogue no.89-652-X (June 1, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2rJ4AZL.

 

Diverse Parents

  • In 2016, there were nearly 73,000 same-sex couple families in Canada (0.9% of all couples), up 61% from 2006.
    • 12% of same-sex couples were raising children (up from 8.6% in 2001), four-fifths of whom are female couples.
    • More than 10,000 children aged 0 to 14 were being raised by same-sex couples.17Statistics Canada, “Census in Brief: Same-Sex Couples in Canada in 2016,” Analytical Products, 2016 Census (August 2, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2DStGc4.

Multi-generational Households

  • In 2016, there were 404,000 multi-generational households (three generations) in Canada, accounting for 2.9% of all households.
    • 2.2 million people, or 6.3% of Canada’s population, lived in multi-generational households – up from 4% in 2001.
  • In 2016, approximately 15% of children with an immigrant background lived in a multi-generational household.18Statistics Canada, “Census in Brief: Children with an Immigrant Background: Bridging Cultures,” 2016 Census Analytical Products, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 98-200-X2016-015 (October 25, 2017).Link: http://bit.ly/2hbqCxx.
  • In 2011…
    • 22% of Inuk (Inuit) grandparents lived with their grandchildren.
    • 14% of First Nations grandparents lived with their grandchildren.
    • 5% of Métis grandparents lived with their grandchildren.
      • This compares with 3.9% among non-Indigenous grandparents that year.19Anne Milan, Nadine Laflamme and Irene Wong, “Diversity of Grandparents Living with Their Grandchildren, 2011,” Insights on Canadian Society, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 75-006-X (April 2015). Link: http://bit.ly/2mPcug5.

 

Learn more about the diversity of families in Canada:

If you would like to book an interview with Vanier Institute CEO Nora Spinks, please contact lsteele@vanierinstitute.ca.

 


Published on February 26, 2018

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Notes   [ + ]

1. Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey Estimates (LFS), by Sex and Detailed Age Group (CANSIM Table 282-0002) (page last updated January 5, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2p38FWs.
2. Canadian Institute of Child Health, “Module 8, Section 2: Labour Force Participation Rate,” The Health of Canada’s Children and Youth: A CICH Profile (2018). Link: http://bit.ly/2oq4xyZ.
3. Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey Estimates (LFS), by Sex and Detailed Age Group.
4. Statistics Canada, “The Rise of the Dual-Earner Family with Children,” Canadian Megatrends, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 11-630-X (May 30, 2016). Link: http://bit.ly/25wbfED.
5. Employment and Social Development Canada, Employment Insurance Monitoring and Assessment Report for the Fiscal Year Beginning April 1, 2015 and Ending March 31, 2016 (May 10, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2GO3Xlj.
6. Statistics Canada, Live Births, by Age and Parity of Mother, Canada (CANSIM Table 102-4508) (page last updated April 26, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2o4EP4D.
7. Statistics Canada, Live Births, by Age and Parity of Mother, Canada.
8. Statistics Canada, Live Births, by Age and Parity of Mother, Canada.
9. Statistics Canada, “Employment Insurance Coverage Survey, 2016,” The Daily (December 15, 2016). Link: http://bit.ly/2CD3nIw.
10. Katherine Marshall, “Fathers’ Use of Paid Parental Leave,” Perspectives on Labour and Income, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 75-001-X (June 2008). Link: http://bit.ly/1UgSdfz.
11, 12. Statistics Canada, “Employment Insurance Coverage Survey, 2016.”
13. Katherine Marshall.
14. Employment and Social Development Canada.
15. Ankita Patnaik, “‘Daddy’s Home!’ Increasing Men’s Use of Paternity Leave,” briefing paper prepared for the Council on Contemporary Families (April 2, 2015). Link: http://bit.ly/1Igwa0Y.
16. Patricia Houle, Martin Turcotte and Michael Wendt, “Changes in Parents’ Participation in Domestic Tasks and Care for Children from 1986 to 2015,” Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey, Statistics Canada catalogue no.89-652-X (June 1, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2rJ4AZL.
17. Statistics Canada, “Census in Brief: Same-Sex Couples in Canada in 2016,” Analytical Products, 2016 Census (August 2, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2DStGc4.
18. Statistics Canada, “Census in Brief: Children with an Immigrant Background: Bridging Cultures,” 2016 Census Analytical Products, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 98-200-X2016-015 (October 25, 2017).Link: http://bit.ly/2hbqCxx.
19. Anne Milan, Nadine Laflamme and Irene Wong, “Diversity of Grandparents Living with Their Grandchildren, 2011,” Insights on Canadian Society, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 75-006-X (April 2015). Link: http://bit.ly/2mPcug5.

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