(NICHOLAS PESCOD/NEWS BULLETIN)

UPDATED: More Canadians live alone than have children

Statistics Canada says the number of same-sex couples went up by nearly two-thirds over a decade

More people are living alone in Canada now than ever before, the latest census data suggest.

Statistics Canada, which released its household and family data on Wednesday morning, reported that 28.2 per cent of Canadians live in one-person households. That compares to 26.5 per cent of Canadians living with children.

In B.C., the numbers were only slightly higher: 28.8 per cent of people live alone.

In the Lower Mainland, senior economist for Rennie Group Ryan Berlin said he’s seeing a correlation between where smaller housing units are being built and where single people are living.

“Our housing stock isn’t necessarily conducive to bigger household sizes,” said Berlin.

That’s reflected in some obvious cities like Vancouver, where 90 per cent of the new households where couples without kids or people live alone. It’s also reflected in less obvious cities, like Pitt Meadows where the figure is 94 per cent.

On average, single-person households and couples without kids made up two-thirds of new households in the region.

“Where you see below-average [growth in those categories] is in Surrey – they’re at the bottom of the list,” said Berlin.

“Even though Surrey is changing and densifying, they’re adding a lot of ground-orientated multi-family [units], which are conducive to families.”

WATCH: Surrey now has the third tallest tower in B.C.

As for people in relationships, the census found that most couples in Canada are common-law – more than one-fifth of them, or 21.6 per cent, compared to 6.3 per cent back in 1981. In B.C., common-law pairs made up 16.7 per cent of all couples. (Couples living together for two years were given common-law status in 2013.)

There is also a rise in the number of childless couples, both married and common-law.

Berlin attributes that what he calls the “pig in the python” effect.

“It reflects our changing demography,” said Berlin. “The typical couple in B.C. or even the Lower Mainland is in their mid-50s. If they had kids when they were 25 or 30, they’re kids are around the age when they would move out.”

Those empty nesters, Berlin said, are contributing to the increase in childless couples – not people having fewer children.

“The fertility rate has been dropping for 40 years now, that’s not new.”

More same-sex couples

The number of same-sex couples in Canada is rising.

Between 2006-2016, that number shot up by 60.7 per cent, compared to an uptick of 9.6 per cent for opposite-sex couples.

Half of the country’s 72,880 same-sex couples live Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Ottawa-Gatineau.

“It’s still a really, really small proportion of all couples,” said Berlin. The figure stands at 0.9 per cent of all couples as of 2016.

While the number of couples with kids dropped overall, the number of same-sex couples with children rose. One-eighth of had at least one child living with them.

UBC School of Economics professor Marina Adshade attributes the jump to changing social norms. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in 2005.

“[The increase] is both interesting and not interesting,” Adshade said. “Turns out, if you give people the right to marry – they do.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

RCMP hunt for suspect in West Kelowna bank robbery

Suspect used a note and fled bank Saturday with an undisclosed amount of cash

Community Leader Awards: Shelley Pacholok

The Kelowna Capital News honours those who give back in the community

International Arts Festival returns to Kelowna

Living Things is a month-long festival with live performances by artists from around the world

Legion bell prank hits sour note

Anger erupts after Summerland Legion member removes bell from Peachland Legion

Kelowna Art Gallery members’ exhibition offers variety of media

Encounters will be held from Dec. 2 to Feb. 3

B.C. wine industry fights for interprovincial trade in Supreme Court

Gerard Comeau likely never thought he would end up in the Supreme… Continue reading

Team Canada loses 5-2 over the Czech Republic at World Junior A Challenge

Vees’ Tychonick drops in one of Team Canada West’s pair of goals

Site C decision coming Monday morning

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

PIGS bring Pink Floyd sound to Kelowna

Victoria band pays tribute to iconic British band on Feb. 10 at Mary Irwin Theatre

Letter: Another flagger dies; when will you slow down?

You have all seen our signs, trucks and my favorite our cones. Why don’t you slow down?

Kelowna-developed technology to be unveiled at Summerhill

Kelowna winery and tech company introduces new technology for phone or tablet

California couple name daughter after Revelstoke

Revy Elle Atashroo was born on Nov. 27. Her name honours the town her parents loved exploring.

VIDEO: Vancouver Whitecaps acquire star striker Kei Kamara

Kamara has 103 goals and 39 assists in 298 appearances over 11 Major League Soccer seasons

Most Read