August 2, 2017 9:04 am
Updated: August 2, 2017 7:58 pm

More than one-third of young Canadian adults live with their parents: 2016 census

Driven by economic realities and changing social attitudes, the 2017 census captures a complicated snapshot of the Canadian household in flux. As Eric Sorensen reports, the reasons behind the trends are as diverse as the population itself.

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Just over one-third of young adults in Canada are living with their parents, according to the 2016 census.

This number has been increasing slowly since 2001. Now, 34.7 per cent of adults aged 20-34 live with at least one parent.

“That’s a share that is similar to the United States and Australia, so that’s not unique to Canada,” said Jonathan Chagnon, senior analyst in the demography division at Statistics Canada. “And it’s still lower than in other European countries.”

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Men are also more likely to live with their parents than women: five young men for every four young women. And, the younger a person is, the more likely they are to live in the family home. Nearly two-thirds of people aged 20 to 24 live with a parent.

Youth in some provinces are more likely to strike out on their own than others though. Forty-two per cent of young Ontarians live at their parents’ home, compared to about 25 per cent in Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Yukon.

“We see the growth is faster in Ontario than in other parts of the country,” said Chagnon.

WATCH: Census 2016: Everything you need to know about languages, households and marital status.

And in Toronto and Oshawa, almost half of young adults (47.4 and 47.2 per cent) are living with their parents, the highest rate in the country. In general, cities with a higher-than-average proportion of young adults living with parents are found in the Greater Toronto Area and B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

More young adults are also living alone or with roommates, and fewer have started their own families than in the past.

Support and caregiving

But the census doesn’t offer a clear explanation why. Another Statistics Canada survey from 2011 showed that 69 per cent of people aged 20-24 had never left their parents’ house. That rate dropped as people got older — among those aged 30-34, the rate was 8.6 per cent.

However, in 2011, the proportion of people that age living with their parents was 12.5, pointing to many young adults moving back in after a period spent outside the family home.

Read more: Canadians speaking more languages than ever before

“It’s always a little difficult to explain the reasons behind it,” said Chagnon. “We can think that for British Columbia and Ontario, these are regions where we see a lot of immigrants, so that could be part of cultural differences. These are also regions where the price of housing is really high.”

The Greater Toronto Area and Lower Mainland have higher costs of living and higher housing costs than other parts of Canada, which would likely make living with parents more appealing.

And it’s parents providing the support: only about nine per cent of young adults in 2012 were the primary caregiver for one or both parents, according to another Statistics Canada survey.

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