More Canadians living alone and without children, census figures show

Canadians are living increasingly alone and without children, according to the latest census figures released by Statistics Canada.

The number of Canadians living alone increased to its greatest share since Confederation and was the most common type of household in the country in 2016, representing 28.2 per cent of all households in Canada.

That is an increase from 25.7 per cent in 2001. Fully 13.9 per cent of the Canadian adult population now lives alone. That figure stood at just 1.8 per cent in 1951.

According to Statistics Canada, this puts Canada well in line with the United Kingdom and the United States, though countries like France and Germany have more single-person households.

The single-person household is most common in Quebec at 33.3 per cent, while British Columbia and Nova Scotia also have more single-person households than the Canadian average. The lowest rates could be found in Nunavut (18.9 per cent), while less than one-in-four adults in Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador were living alone.

Due to its aging population, the biggest increase in single-person households occurred in the Atlantic provinces, with rates of growth two to four times greater than Canada as a whole.


Half of all couples in Canada live with at least one child in the home, and a slim majority of couples living together are married, 2016 census data shows, although those numbers are down from previous censuses. (Shutterstock)

Women are more likely than men to be living alone due to their longer life expectancy. On the bright side, however, the share of senior women living alone has decreased.

“This is the result of an aging population,” says Johanne Denis, a director general at Statistics Canada. “We’re also seeing higher rates of separation and divorce, delayed couple formation among younger Canadians and more women in the labour force. These are trends that other countries are also experiencing.”

More to come

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