Canadian census data shows rise in households with multiple generations of families

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Seniors over 85 expected to rapidly increase in next decade, impact health-care system: StatsCan
WATCH: Seniors over 85 expected to rapidly increase in next decade, impact health-care system: StatsCan – Apr 27, 2022

Canada’s latest tranche of census data show more people are living alone than ever before, but the number of households where roommates live together or multiple generations of a family share a home is rapidly rising.

Statistics Canada said on Wednesday 4.4 million people lived alone in 2021, up from 1.7 million in 1981. Roughly 15 per cent of all adults aged 15 and older lived alone in 2021, the highest share on record.

However, the number of homes shared by roommates increased by 54 per cent between 2001 and 2021, the fastest growth of any household type.

Sharing homes with roommates was more common in downtown regions of large urban centres, especially in cities where large post-secondary institutions were located.

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The census also found that the number of homes being shared by multiple generations of a family, two or more families living together or one family living with people they may or may not be related to grew by 45 per cent over the last 20 years.

These households amounted to almost one million in 2021, making up seven per cent of Canada’s homes.

Common law couples on the rise

Canadians are increasingly likely to live in common-law partnerships rather than officially tying the knot, the data also showed.

Roughly 23 per cent of Canadian couples who live together are unmarried. The agency says that over the last 40 years, the number of common-law couples has increased by 447 per cent.

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Over the same period, the number of married couples rose by just 26 per cent.

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Statistics Canada says the country now has the highest proportion of common-law unions in the G7.

It says that’s partially because of the union’s popularity in Quebec, where 43 per cent of Canada’s common-law couples live.

Census figures paint statistical portrait of Canadian military members, veterans

The data also showed there were 97,625 Canadians serving in the military last year and another 461,240 former members.

The figures shared are primarily intended to fill gaps in the existing data about the country’s military veterans.

The agency says there was a lack of comprehensive data on veterans to ensure proper allocation of money by the federal government for former members, their families and other program recipients.

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Statistics Canada has worked in recent years with federal agencies and others to paint a fuller picture of veterans, looking at their overall health and well-being.

However, the scope has frequently been limited to contemporary veterans who were released from military service after 1998.

The statistical agency hopes the new figures will provide much-needed information about veterans who served in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, the Korean War and the Second World War.

Incomes went up in 2020 amid uptake of pandemic benefits

Canadians also got a look at how government supports such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit affected incomes during the early pandemic.

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Canadian incomes trended higher in 2020 everywhere except in Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador, as millions benefited from pandemic supports, according to new census data from Statistics Canada.

The agency reports that median after-tax household income was $73,000 in 2020, up 9.8 per cent compared to its last national survey five years earlier, partly driven by the losses of lower-paying jobs.

Despite fewer Canadians receiving employment income during the pandemic, census data suggest job losses were partly offset by COVID-19 benefits as about two-thirds of Canadian adults received payments from relief programs.

The number of Canadians earning less than $20,000 grew by more than 415,000 as many lower-paid jobs disappeared.

But the low-income rate fell overall and the number of Canadians who reported no income shrank by nearly a million compared to 2019.

Experts had cautioned that the income data, which is based on Canada Revenue Agency tax and benefits records, would form a complicated picture of the early pandemic and should be seen as a snapshot in time.

Click to play video: 'Rise in multi-generational households: 2021 Census'
Rise in multi-generational households: 2021 Census

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