OTTAWA, ON – The latest Canadian family census data show that Canada is charting a course toward increased family instability and social isolation. According the 2016 census, 78.7% of all couples in Canada are married, down from almost 84% of couples since 2001. Meanwhile, just more than 21% of all couples are simply living together in a Common Law relationship, up almost 5% in the last 15 years. Andrea Mrozek, Family Program Director at public policy think tank Cardus, notes that researchers have found cohabitation to be generally less stable that marriage.
“Fortunately, marriage still remains the most common form of relationship for couples,” says Mrozek. “But the trend is toward less stable relationships. That implies more break-ups, more drastic changes in domestic life, and more turmoil – things that can harm physical and mental health, not to mention any children who may be in the picture.”
However, the news was not all negative. The proportion of children living in single-parent homes appears to have levelled off in Canada at 19.2% in 2016, barely changed from 2011. While still high, it remains lower than rates in the United States and the United Kingdom.
“The research is abundantly clear that children do best in stable families with two parents, so it’s encouraging not to see a rising proportion of kids in single-parent homes,” says Mrozek. “It would be even better if we could see that proportion decline – something that could happen if Canada could raise its marriage rates.”
Cardus - Director of Communications
Cardus is a non-partisan, not-for-profit public policy think tank focused on the following areas: education, family, work & economics, social cities, end-of-life care, and religious freedom. It conducts independent and original research, produces several periodicals, and regularly stages events with Senior Fellows and interested constituents across Canada and the U.S. To learn more, visit: www.cardus.ca and follow us on Twitter @cardusca.