Census shows rise in common-law families

Powell River rate higher than provincial and national averages

People deciding not to marry is on the rise in Powell River, according to Statistics Canada.

A recent release of 2016 census information on families, households and marital status reported that the percentage of the region’s couples living common law increased in 2016, while the percentage of married couples remained stable.

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Of Powell River region’s 5,175 couples in 2016, 4,075 were reported married and 1,100 common law, compared to the last census in 2011 when Powell River had 5,080 couples and 1,000 were listed as common law.

The number of Powell River couples choosing to live common law, at 13 per cent, is higher than provincial and national averages. In BC, 9 per cent of people lived common law while 12 per cent did nationally.

Meanwhile, the release also painted a picture of what impact Powell River's aging population is having on the number of children living at home.

About two-thirds of Powell River region’s couples in 2016 did not have children living at home, which has remained unchanged since 2011. Of the other one-third of couples, 1,690 had children at home, with 743 having only one child and 947 having two or more.

Those numbers echo a larger trend seen in BC where child-free couples are now the majority.

The proportion of couples living with children in the province dropped from 28 per cent in 2001 to 23 per cent in 2016.

Powell River region also saw a decrease in the number families led by single parents. Just fewer than 800 families were listed as lone-parent families in the recent release, 100 fewer than in 2011. Three-quarters of those families were reported to be led by women.

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