Canada Couples: Census 2011 Shows Rise Of Common-Law Couples With Children

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More than 52 per cent of couples in Canada have children, but the makeup of those families have changed in the past five years with common-law couples with children making a big jump since 2006.
More than 52 per cent of couples in Canada have children, but the makeup of those families have changed in the past five years with common-law couples with children making a big jump since 2006.

More than 52 per cent of couples in Canada have children, but the makeup of those families has changed in the past five years, with common-law couples with children making a big jump since 2006.

The 2011 Canada Census of families on Wednesday showed that nationwide, there was a 14.3 per cent increase in common law couples with children to 706,555 families, compared with 2006. Meanwhile, the more traditional married couples with children dropped 1.2 per cent to 3.4 million families.

In the report, Statistics Canada noted that married couples are the most predominant family structure, at 67 per cent of all overall families. Among all couples (7.8 million in Canada), 20 per cent were common law, with the balance married.

Common-law couples, of which there are 1.5 million in Canada, were increasingly producing offspring, as 45 per cent of such families have children. In Quebec, 360,000 common law couples have children, making up of 39 per cent of all couples with children in the province. Yukon (13 per cent), Northwest Territories (21 per cent) and Nunavut (35 per cent) also had a high proportion of couples who were common law with children. Ontario and British Columbia, at 5 per cent of common law without kids, were below the national average of 9 per cent.

Statistics Canada found that overall among couples, 43 per cent were married with kids, 37 per cent were childless and married, 9 per cent were common law with children, and 11 per cent were common law without children.

In Ontario, married couple with kids was the big standout, with 51 per cent of the 3 million couples having children. In that province, 5 per cent of couples, or 158,000, constituted common law with kids.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan, around 44 per cent of all couples in those provinces did not have children, compared with a national average of 37 per cent.

Here's a snapshot of the provinces and how Statistics Canada divides the couples in one of four categories. See below slideshow for all provinces and territories.

  • Married with children
  • Married without children
  • Common law with children
  • Common law without children.
Couples in Canada
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National average
Couples with children: 52%
Married couples with children: 43%
Married couples without children: 37%
Common-law with children: 9%
Common-law without children: 11%

Newfoundland and Labrador
Couples with children: 48%
Married couples with children: 41%
Married couples without children: 44%
Common-law with children: 7%
Common-law without children: 8%

Prince Edward Island
Couples with children: 50%
Married couples with children: 44%
Married couples without children: 43%
Common-law with children: 6%
Common-law without children: 8%

Nova Scotia
Couples with children: 46%
Married couples with children: 39%
Married couples without children: 44%
Common-law with children: 7%
Common-law without children: 11%

New Brunswick
Couples with children: 46%
Married couples with children: 37%
Married couples without children: 44%
Common-law with children: 8%
Common-law without children: 11%

Quebec
Couples with children: 49%
Married couples with children: 30%
Married couples without children: 32%
Common-law with children: 20%
Common-law without children: 18%

Ontario
Couples with children: 56%
Married couples with children: 51%
Married couples without children: 36%
Common-law with children: 5%
Common-law without children: 8%

Manitoba
Couples with children: 53%
Married couples with children: 46%
Married couples without children: 39%
Common-law with children: 6%
Common-law without children: 8%

Saskatchewan
Couples with children: 49%
Married couples with children: 42%
Married couples without children: 43%
Common-law with children:7%
Common-law without children: 8%

Alberta
Couples with children: 53%
Married couples with children: 47%
Married couples without children: 37%
Common-law with children:6%
Common-law without children: 10%

British Columbia
Couples with children: 50%
Married couples with children: 44%
Married couples without children: 40%
Common-law with children: 5%
Common-law without children: 10%

Yukon
Couples with children: 49%
Married couples with children: 36%
Married couples without children: 32%
Common-law with children: 13%
Common-law without children: 18%

Northwest Territories
Couples with children: 61%
Married couples with children: 41%
Married couples without children: 12%
Common-law with children: 21%
Common-law without children: 16%

Nunavut
Couples with children: 78%
Married couples with children: 43%
Married couples without children: 12%
Common-law with children: 35%
Common-law without children: 10%

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