2016 Census Release Highlights Family Diversity in Canada

Today, Statistics Canada released new 2016 Census data and a series of publications that highlight family diversity and living arrangements in Canada, with a focus on immigration and ethnocultural diversity, Indigenous peoples and housing.

In addition to new and updated data and highlight tables, infographics and videos, new Census in Brief releases provide analysis on a variety of topics, including immigrant and Aboriginal children, the ethnic and cultural origins of Canadians, housing conditions of Aboriginal people, linguistic diversity and more.

These releases provide valuable insights into family diversity and housing in the context of broader trends that have been monitored and reported on by the Vanier Institute, including (but not limited to):


Multi-generational households are on the rise in Canada…

  • Between 2001 and 2016, multi-generational households were the fastest-growing household type in Canada, increasing by 38% to reach nearly 404,000 homes.
  • In 2016, 2.2 million Canadians lived in multi-generational households – this represented 6.3% of the total population in private households (up from 4% in 2001).


Indigenous families represent a young, diverse and rapidly growing segment of the population…

  • In 2011, there were 1.4 million people across Canada reporting an Aboriginal identity,1 including approximately 852,000 First Nations people, 452,000 Métis and 59,000 Inuit.
  • The Aboriginal population is growing at a faster rate than the non-Aboriginal population in Canada (+20% and +5%, respectively, between 2006 and 2011), and is estimated to reach 2.0 to 2.6 million by 2036.
  • In 2011, nearly 3 in 10 people reporting an Aboriginal identity were children aged 14 and under; rates varied by Aboriginal identity (34% Inuit, 30% First Nations, 23% Métis), and were significantly higher than the share of the non-Aboriginal population who were aged 14 and under (17%).Learn more with Facts and Stats: Indigenous Families in Canada.


Immigrant families account for a growing share of Canadians and have unique family experiences…

  • In 2011, approximately 1 in 5 people in Canada (20%) reported that they were born outside the country – the highest share of all G8 countries. This is up from 16% in 1961, and is projected to grow to 25%–28% by 2031.
  • In 2011, more than 1 in 5 recent immigrants2 (21%) lived with their grandchildren, compared with 3% of the Canadian-born population in the same age group.


The Vanier Institute shares evidence-based, evidence-informed and evidence-inspired stories and research findings, working with organizations such as Statistics Canada to explore modern families through diverse resources, publications and public engagements. Read more about our relationship with Statistics Canada by reading their blog post Learning about Canada’s diverse families through Nora Spinks from the Vanier Institute of the Family.

To arrange an interview, contact Vanier Institute CEO Nora Spinks at 613-724-8500 or 613-228-8500, ext. 219, or by emailing [email protected].


Published on October 25, 2017



  1. From to Statistics Canada: “The term ‘Aboriginal identity’ refers to whether the person reported being an Aboriginal person, that is, First Nations (North American Indian), Métis or Inuk (Inuit) and/or being a Registered or Treaty Indian (registered under the Indian Act of Canada), and/or being a member of a First Nation or Indian band. Aboriginal peoples of Canada are defined in the Constitution Act, 1982, section 35 (2) as including the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.” Link: http://bit.ly/2i96Oh0.
  2. Immigrants who arrived in Canada between 2006 and 2011.
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