For more than 50 years, the Vanier Institute of the Family has monitored, studied and discussed trends in families and family life in Canada. From the beginning, the evidence has consistently made one thing clear: there is no single story to tell, because families are as diverse as the people who comprise them.
This has always been the case, whether one examines family structures, family identities, family living arrangements, family lifestyles, family experiences or whether one looks at the individual traits of family members, such as their ethnocultural background, immigration status, sexual orientation or their diverse abilities.
Building on our recent infographic, Family Diversity in Canada (2016 Census Update), our new Statistical Snapshot publication provides an expanded and more detailed portrait of modern families in Canada, as well as some of the trends that have shaped our vibrant and evolving family landscape over the years. Based on current data and trend analysis, this overview shows that diversity is, was and will continue to be a key characteristic of family life for generations to come – a reality that contributes to Canada’s dynamic and evolving society.
- According to Statistics Canada, there were 9.8 million Census families living across Canada in 2016.
- 66% of families in Canada include a married couple, 18% are living common-law and 16% are lone-parent families – diverse family structures that continuously evolve.
- Among Canada’s provinces, people in Quebec stand out with regard to couple/relationship formation, with a greater share living common-law than the rest of Canada (40% vs. 16%, respectively) and fewer married couples (60% vs. 84%, respectively) in 2016.
- In 2016, 1.7 million people in Canada reported having an Aboriginal identity: 58% First Nations, 35% Métis, 3.9% Inuk (Inuit), 1.4% other Aboriginal identity and 1.3% with more than one Aboriginal identity.
- In 2016, 22% of people in Canada reported that they were born outside the country – up from 16% in 1961.
- In 2016, more than 1 in 5 people in Canada (22%) reported belonging to a visible minority group, 3 in 10 of whom were born in Canada.
- 73,000 same-sex couples were counted in the 2016 Census, 12% of whom are raising children.
- In 2016, there were nearly 404,000 multi-generational households in Canada – the fastest-growing household type since 2001 (+38%).
- In 2011, 22% of Inuk (Inuit) grandparents, 14% of First Nations grandparents and 5% of Métis grandparents lived with their grandchildren, compared with 3.9% of among non-Indigenous grandparents.
- In 2014, 1 in 5 Canadians aged 25 to 64 reported living with at least one disability. Disability rates were higher for women (23%) than men (18%).
- More than one-quarter (27%) of Canadians surveyed in 2014 said religion is “very important” in their lives.
- One-quarter of Canadians reported “no religious affiliation” in the 2011 Census (most recent data available), up from 17% in 2001.