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Families Count 2024: new resource on family structure now available

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Families Count 2024 is now available

April 30, 2024

Families Count 2024: Thirty Years of Change, Continuity, and Complexity in Canada

A new publication highlighting 30 years of changing family structures in Canada

Access Families Count 2024

Today, the Vanier Institute of the Family has published the first release from Families Count 2024, a four-part series that explores three decades of change, continuity, and complexity among families in Canada. Released during the International Year of the Family’s 30th anniversary in 2024, the report Families Count 2024 provides statistical portraits of families in Canada, highlights trends over time, and offers insights on what it all means for families and family life.

Family Structure is the first section of a larger report that will also explore family work, family identity, and family wellbeing. Using current data from Statistics Canada and other sources, its 14 chapters provide overviews of topics and trends related to how people come together to form and grow families and family households, and transitions that occur over the life course.

Written in accessible language and available in English and French, Families Count 2024 is of interest to a broad audience, including policymakers, educators, students, researchers, employers, community organizations, journalists, family professionals, and others with an interest in families and family wellbeing in Canada.

Families Count 2024 is a timely update that builds on what we know about families in Canada,” noted co-author and Knowledge Mobilization Specialist Nathan Battams. “Marriage and divorce rates have declined, but people are just as likely to be a part of a couple. Family living arrangements are changing, with twentysomethings more likely to live with their parents than in the past, while multigenerational households have become one of the fastest growing household types. Understanding changes and complexities like these is essential to supporting family wellbeing.”

“Families in Canada are diverse and continually evolving—there is no single story to tell about families or how they’ve changed over the last generation,” said co-author and Senior Program Specialist Sophie Mathieu. “It is our hope that the profiles and insights offered in Families Count 2024 help people to better understand families and family life in Canada, inform conversations, and strengthen the evidence base to support the development of policies, programs, and services to enhance the wellbeing of all families.”

The second release from Families Count 2024 will focus on families and work. It will be published in summer 2024.

Family Structure: chapter list

  1. Couples today are less likely to get married
  2. Couples are marrying later in life
  3. Divorce rates have declined since the early 1990s 
  4. Common-law unions are most common in Quebec and Nunavut
  5. Living apart is increasingly common among couples
  6. Polyamorous families are broadening family law
  7. Young adults are more likely to live with parents
  8. Multigenerational households are one of the fastest growing household types 
  9. Pathways to becoming a stepfamily have evolved
  10. Fertility rates hit a record low (again)
  11. Fathers represent a growing share of parents in one-parent families
  12. Thousands of children are adopted every year but far more need homes
  13. Half of children in foster care are Indigenous   
  14. The percentage of older adults who are widowed has declined

The Vanier Institute of the Family is a national, independent think tank committed to enhancing family wellbeing by making information about families accessible and actionable. Positioned at the centre of networks of researchers, educators, policymakers, and organizations with an interest in families, we share evidence and strengthen the understanding of families in Canada, in all their diversities, to support evidence-based decisions that promote family wellbeing.