Canadian Kids with Married Parents Hits Record Low


February 15, 2018

OTTAWA – New data show that in 2016, about 62 percent of children up to age 14 were living with two married parents – a dramatic decline from the 73 percent who lived in such homes in 1996. At the same time, the proportion of Canadian kids living in households with two unmarried parents has hit 17 per cent – a 62 percent increase over just two decades – and now almost one in five children is living with a single parent.

“Marriage is the gold standard for raising children, yet year by year we’re sliding away from that ideal,” says Andrea Mrozek, family program director at public policy think tank Cardus. “Marriage and cohabitation are not interchangeable and don’t have the same outcomes in terms of longevity, educational attainment for children, or financial stability.”

Research within Canada and around the world also suggests that the decline of marriage is tied to income inequality. Higher-educated couples – who have typically higher incomes - are more likely to marry and stay married than their peers with lower levels of education and typically lower income.

“Canadians need to learn about the differences between cohabitation and marriage for themselves but also for the sake of what’s best for children. More information is always better when making relationship decisions,” says Mrozek.

The numbers on marriage and cohabitation come from Canada’s 2016 Census. They are being published for the first time by Cardus and are now available online.

To arrange for interviews with Andrea Mrozek, please, contact Daniel Proussalidis


Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus - Director of Communications


Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society's institutions can work together for the common good.

Topics: Family, Marriage