A window on Canadian families is provided by the national censuses which take place every five years. The last census taken was in 2016, and the next one will be in 2021. In between the censuses, Statistics Canada sorts through the data to measure the progress, stability and also the deterioration of our society. It is very revealing information as statistical analysis is a powerful lens for understanding our world.
Marriage Is the Best Environment
Statistics Canada tries to adopt a “neutral” or indifferent approach to the traditional family of a mother, father, and children, despite the fact that social sciences provide us with countless studies enforcing the long-held view that stable marriage is the best environment for the well-being and advancement of men, women, and children, physically, economically, socially, and mentally. In fact, according to American statistics marripedia.org, (which results would be similar in Canada), children from intact, married families have the highest high school graduation rate and are more likely to gain more education after graduating from high school than those from other family structures.
This is because other family arrangements are significantly more prone to instability, violence, poverty, and crime. Also, sadly, children in non-marital environments are more likely to suffer emotional, physical, and educational neglect, although some of these families do manage to surmount these obstacles.
Other Reasons Why the Traditional Family Matters
Government and survey data overwhelmingly document that married-parent households work, earn, and save at significantly higher rates than other family households. They also pay most of all income taxes collected by the government.
Such households also contribute to charity and volunteer at significantly higher rates, regardless of income, than do single or divorced households.
Married households also have larger average net worth at retirement than other family structures.
Married individuals occupy hospitals and health institutions less often, are released from hospitals sooner, on average, and spend half as much time in hospitals as opposed to single individuals.
Unfortunately, the Canadian 2016 census results indicate that marriage and fertility are declining in Canada. This is not good news.
Marriage in Decline
Despite the importance of the traditional, intact family of mother, father, and children, Statistics Canada reports a persistent decline in marriage in Canada. No effort, however, appears to be made to encourage and increase traditional marriages. In fact, some government documents even view this decline as “progressive” and as “enlightened diversity”.
Statistics Canada stopped collecting data on marriage and divorce rates in 2011, while other western countries have continued to provide this valuable information. Interestingly, previously, among the Commonwealth countries, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand had similar average marriage rates per 1000 from 2001 to 2011, at 4.6, 4.7, 5.2, and 4.7 respectively. The United States kept its average rate higher, at 7.3, which is 59% higher than in Canada. Marriage rates in the U.S., like Canada, however, are now also on the decline.
Another negative for Canada’s social health, uncovered by Statistics Canada, is the average age of first marriages, which has increased from 21.1 years of age in 1971 to 29.6 in 2008 for women, and from 24.4 in 1971 to 31.0 in 2008 for men. No data is available after 2008, except for Quebec, where the age of first marriage in 2016 was 31.9 for women and 33.4 for men.
Marriages taking place at a later date present problems because fertility decreases with age, and this results in a lower birth rate. The Canadian birth rate is now 1.6 children per woman of childbearing age. A birthrate of 2.1 is required to maintain a population, and only occurs, today, in Africa.
Married Couples Predominate
There is good news in that a majority of couples in Canada are legally married despite the decline in numbers. Census 2016 reports that 78.7% of couples in Canada are married (down from 79.8% in 2011) while 21.3% are living common-law.
Interestingly, there are four areas in Canada which have exceedingly high percentages of common-law couples: They are Quebec (39.9% of couples), the Yukon (31.9%), the Northwest Territory (36.6%), and Nunavut (50.3%). All other provinces combined have a much lower rate, at 16.8%, of couples that are living common-law. These latter relationships, however, differ both in expectation and commitment, which changes the behaviour of the couples.
The significant differences between a legal marriage and a common-law relationship are evidenced by data from Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey, published in 2017, based on the 2016 census. It shows that 74% of common-law relationships terminated within seven years, but only 28% of legal marriages are terminated during this same period. In fact, according to the data, only 15% of common-law relationships last for a period of ten years, compared to 57% of legally married couples. This lack of stability in common-law relationships is unfortunate for children. According to Statistics Canada,
the majority (63.6%) of children live with their legally married parents, whereas 16.3% live with parents in a common-law relationship with its inherent instability (last available data). Further, the incidence of domestic violence is multiple times higher among common-law couples than among married couples.
Statistics Canada and “Census Families”
Statistics Canada introduced a new concept in defining families in 2001, which it calls “census families”. This grouping is not what Canadians usually understand as constituting a “family”. Instead, this new definition includes many relationships. It includes couples with children from previous relationships; couples living common-law; same-sex couples, grandparents with grandchildren living with them, and a lone parent of any marital status. That is, the “census family” consists of many domestic arrangements tied together only by the fact that these “families” live together in the same residence. The children counted in a “census family” may also include children of any age, including adult children. In short, a “census family” is just about any type of domestic arrangement. This really doesn’t tell us much, except that Canadians are one confused people!
There is a purpose in Statistics Canada using “census family”, however, in that it introduces a new cultural understanding of what constitutes a family.
Also, when the definition of family is broadened in this way, the number of “families” it adds lowers the percentage of legally “married couples” by 12.9 percentage points to 65.8% of census families, rather than 78.7% of couples. This explains different census results reported in the media. Common-law couples account for 17.8% of census families while lone parents account for 16.4%.
Decline of Births in the Last Century
In 1871, there were seven births per Canadian woman of child bearing age, in 1961 there were four births, and in 2019, the fertility count was a mere 1.5 births per woman. The U.K., Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. are all at 1.7 for 2019, 13% higher than Canada (World Bank numbers).
The percentage of one-person households has increased from 7.4% in 1951 to 28.2% in 2016, a troubling affirmation of Canada’s decreasing family formation, rising divorces and an aging population.
In 1851, the average number of people per household was 6.2, whereas it was 2.8 in 2016. One Statistics Canada report, ever politically correct, refers to this regression as “evolving living arrangements,” whereas it speaks volumes about the decline of our society to function efficiently.
Same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in 2005 by the Liberal government, under PM Paul Martin. It argued this was required because of the need to provide “equality” for homosexuals. Homosexuals cannot be “equal” except in companionship because they do not provide the essential function of marriage, which is to give birth to children, necessary for society’s survival. Canada was one of the first countries in the world to measure same-sex couples in its census.
Ever politically correct, Statistics Canada now includes same-sex couples in their statistics in order to “shed light on an aspect of inclusiveness in Canada.” Statistics Canada reports that there was an increase of 60.7% in same-sex couples from the 2006 census. However, the report doesn’t mention that the increase between Census 2006 and 2011 was 43%, when same-sex marriage was new, but that between Census 2011 and 2016 the increase was only by 13%. That is a very steep decline in same-sex marriages taking place in Canada. This indicates that the novelty of same-sex marriage has worn off. The LGBTQ community achieved its goal of “normalizing” their relationships by way of the so-called legal measure of marriage, but most homosexuals preferred to continue their lifestyle of promiscuous sex and are not interested in marriage. This is because their culture rarely includes committed relationships. Even those few who do have committed relationships almost always have open relationships at the same time, i.e. other sexual partners. This practice is widely accepted in the LGBTQ community. This should come as no surprise since they warned us before same-sex marriage was legalized that few among them actually desired legal marriages. The homosexual magazine, FAB, stated in an editorial (May 2005) “ the gay marriage movement in Canada has been spearheaded by a handful of lawyers and a few homo-activists, who most queers couldn’t name if their lives depended on it…there has been no mass gay marriage movement here in Canada.” Gareth Kirkby, editor of the homosexual newspaper Xtra, stated in a 2007 editorial “…some couples, a few lawyers and out of touch lobby groups decided that same-sex marriage was the only thing that really mattered…very few of us really want to get married.”
Same-sex couples account for 0.9% of Canada’s 8 million couples, and married same-sex couples account for an even lower 0.3% of all couples.
The majority of male/female couples choose marriage (78%) whereas among same-sex couples the majority (60%) choose a common-law relationship.
Census 2016 discovered a significant wage gap between couple types. In higher income brackets, male (gay) couples had the highest combined median income in 2015 at $100,707, then female (lesbian) couples at $92,857, and the traditional male/female couples had a median income of $87,688. Lower income partners followed the same median income pattern: gay couples had an income of $31,192, lesbian couples had an income of $30,942 and male/female couples had an income of $24,969. So much for so-called “discrimination” against homosexuals in the work place.
Children in Canada
Census 2016 counted 5,839,565 children, aged 0 to 14, in Canada in a population of 35,151,728, with the majority, 69.6%, living in two parent married families, 16.3% living in common-law relationships, 19.2% living with one parent, 9.8% in stepfamilies, and 0.17% with same-sex couples (80% of which were female couples).
Marriage and fertility are in decline in Canada, which negatively affects our well-being. It is causing a burden on our social benefit/welfare programs. There appears to be no interest among politicians to do anything about it.