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Common-law couple families increase

Census figures reflect changing dynamics

Statistics Canada released figures from the 2011 census last week which focused on families, households, marital status and living arrangements.

In the Powell River Regional District area, almost 20 per cent (1,000) of 5,080 couple families are common-law.

Common-law couples grew rapidly between 2006 and 2011 across Canada, increasing nearly 14 per cent, more than four times the three-per-cent increase for married couples. The percentage of common-law families was highest in Quebec and the territories.

In Powell River, the number of married-couple families decreased about 1.6 per cent from the 2006 census, when there were 4,145 in the area. However, common-law couple families increased nearly 20 per cent from 870 in 2006.

There are also 895 lone-parent families, an increase from 785 in 2006. In 2011, 670 were headed by a female parent, while 230 had a male parent. In 2006, 560 had a female parent, compared to 225 with a male parent.

Powell River’s average family has 0.80 children at home, compared to the national average of 1.1 in 2011. Nationally, families have become smaller over time. The average number of children per family in Canada has decreased from 2.7 in 1961.

While family size has declined, the number of households has increased. In 2011, there were 9,110 private households in the regional district area. That compares to 8,775 in 2006.

In the 4,765 couple-family households in the area, 3,120 had no children in 2011.

In Powell River, eight per cent of children living at home are 25 and older. Across Canada, 42 per cent of young adults, aged 20 to 29, live in the parental home.

In the Powell River region, 1.8 per cent of seniors live with relatives, while about 30 per cent live alone. The total number of persons 65 years and over in private households was 4,140. The number of persons not in census families aged 65 years and over was 1,395.

Across Canada, 92 per cent of seniors lived in private households while nearly eight per cent lived in residences or health care facilities. The majority of seniors, 56 per cent, lived as part of a couple in 2011, a higher proportion than a decade earlier.

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