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Married With Children Still The Norm In Canada


February 28, 2023

OTTAWA, ON – Six in 10 children in Canada live in married-parent families, a proportion that’s held steady since 2016 after declining for decades. That’s the key finding in a new Cardus report on previously unreleased Statistics Canada data from the 2021 census. Canadian Children at Home: Living Arrangements in the 2021 Census also finds:

  • Almost one in five children in Canada live with a lone parent
  • About 17 percent of children in Canada live in common-law families
  • At just 39 percent, Quebec is the province with the lowest proportion of children living in married-parent families
  • Nearly one in three children living in common-law families are in stepfamilies
  • Less than seven percent of kids in married-parent families are in stepfamilies

Here’s why this matters:

Children’s living arrangements matter because while no family is perfect or immune to break-up, married families are generally less likely to dissolve than non-married familiesand children in healthy, stable homes tend to be happier and healthier, and to do better in school.

“Good kids come from all kinds of families, but governments should consider family structure when discussing inequality and children’s wellbeing,” says Peter Jon Mitchell, report author and Cardus’s family program director. “Given the benefits of healthy marriages, governments concerned about inequality should address barriers preventing young adults from forming stable marriages and families.”

Canadian Children at Home: Living Arrangements in the 2021 Census is freely available online.


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