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Proportion of married couples decreasing in Toronto region

09/19/2012 04:22 EDT | Updated 11/19/2012 05:12 EST
The proportion of married couples living in the Toronto area is decreasing, but these formal pairings still account for nearly three-quarters of the statistical "families" in the region.

Statistics Canada has released data from the 2011 census, analyzing the 1,529,235 families living in the Toronto census metropolitan area, which includes communities in Peel, York and Halton regions.

The statistics agency defines a census family as being composed of a married or common-law couple, including those with children, or of a lone parent living with at least one child in the same household.

In 2011, 74 per cent, or 1,132,220 of the families living in the Toronto CMA were composed of married couples. That’s a slight decrease from the 2006 census, in which married couples made up 75.3 of the total families within the region.

Last year’s census counted another 124,690 common-law couples in the Toronto region, as well as 272,325 single-parent families.

Across Canada, the percentage of married couples has dropped over the last five years from 68.6 per cent to 67 per cent of all families. Couples living together without being legally married make up 16.7 per cent of all families across the country, an increase from the 2006 census when it was 15.5 per cent.

The new census data shows some other interesting details about families in the Toronto region:

- Stepfamilies — defined by Statistics Canada as couples living with one or more children where at least one child is the biological or adopted child of only one of the parents — represent 4.9 per cent of all families in the Toronto region. This is the first time Statistics Canada has counted stepfamilies in a census.

- The percentage of people in the Toronto region who are divorced is 6.6 up from 6.1 per cent in 2006.

- A total of 0.3 per cent of children under the age of 15 live with at least one grandparent instead of a parent.

- 17.8 per cent of families are headed by single parents: 14.7 per cent by single mothers and 3.1 per cent by fathers.

- There are 12,370 same-sex couples (1 per cent of all metro Toronto couples), up from 9,620 (0.8 per cent) in 2006.

- 12.3 per cent of households have adult children aged 25 and over still living at home.

Statistics Canada uses the term census metropolitan area to describe any area with a population of at least 100,000, where the urban core of that area has at least 50,000 people. Looking at metropolitan areas this way takes in to account the growing impact of suburban areas on Canada's largest cities.

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