More Canadians live alone than have children

Statistics Canada says the number of same-sex couples went up by nearly two-thirds over a decade

More people are living alone in Canada now than ever before, the latest census data suggest.

Statistics Canada, which released its household and family data on Wednesday morning, reported that 28.2 per cent of Canadians live in one-person households. That compares to 26.5 per cent of Canadians living with children.

In B.C., the numbers were only slightly higher: 28.8 per cent of people live alone.

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As for people in relationships, the census found that most couples in Canada are common-law – more than one-fifth of them, or 21.6 per cent, compared to 6.3 per cent back in 1981. In B.C., common-law pairs made up 16.7 per cent of all couples. (Couples living together for two years were given common-law status in 2013.)

There is also a rise in the number of childless couples, both married and common-law.

“It reflects our changing demography,” said Berlin. “The typical couple in B.C. is in their mid-50s. If they had kids when they were 25 or 30, they’re kids are around the age when they would move out.”

Those empty nesters, Berlin said, are contributing to the increase in childless couples – not people having fewer children.

“The fertility rate has been dropping for 40 years now, that’s not new.”

While the number of couples with kids dropped overall, the number of same-sex couples with children rose. One-eighth of had at least one child living with them.

UBC School of Economics professor Marina Adshade attributes the jump to changing social norms. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in 2005.

“[The increase] is both interesting and not interesting,” Adshade said. “Turns out, if you give people the right to marry – they do.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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