Canadian Census 2006
The Canadian Census of 2006 has just been made public. It shows us how we have changed as a population since the last census in 2001. The most striking thing this year is that it is the first time that same-sex marriages have been listed. It will take a few census period to pass before these statistics reflect the reality. While over 12,000 licenses (many for people coming to Canada to be married) have been issued only just over 7,000 same sex marriages have been reported for census purposes. Apparently, the questions and attitudes need some refining to ellicit the accurate information.
There are other interesting details. The Canadian family is being redefined. Besides, same-sex families, there are more single parent families, childless familes, common-law marriages etc.
The family was redefined for me years ago, when I found myself a single parent of a son. Back then for a father to have custody was rare. I found myself doing things to underscore that we were a family, a small one but a family none the less. I felt some people thought I was just a single guy with a kid. I know we never went to the show on a weekend for that was when the non custodial fathers entertained their kids. We went, as a family during the week. And, of course, I did all the "mother" things I could, from being on the PTA to organizing the school lunch room program. Oh how I protests those school letter addressed to the mother. I am sure, these days, with the continuing changes in the understanding of the nature of the Canadian family, fewer assumptions are made.
The classic two parent and children family is decreasing as a percentage, and in size. 1.5 children per family is the average. In the US it is 2.0. As a result, Canada's population increase is due to immigration while in the US national child births account for the increase still. I was surprised to seen that the highest percentage of single parent families is in Nunavut. I wonder what this says about the values and conditions in the Inuit family? In Quebec, there are the highest number of couples just living together, and a very low birthrate. The Catholic Church has lost it's control over the French Canadian population, which we also see in Northern Ontario among the French Catholics. This is a process that has been going on for several decade. For more comment on the census read this news report globeandmail.com: Canada's changing family Here is how it applies to Toronto Single-parent families on rise in Toronto
For a real examination of Canada through the census go to the Statistics Canada site and click on the table of contents. 2006 Census: Portrait of the Canadian Population in 2006 The information here could be the basis of a year long study of Canada. I particularly liked the flash animation illustrations. Here are three of them NWT11mars Quebec 11mars Ontario 11mars
It is interesting to know of all the G8 countries Canada is growing the fastest. Population growth in G8 countries from 2001 to 2006 It is interesting that Germany has stablized it population and Russia is losing population. Socially, what is happening in Russia?
Canadians continue to be an urban people. It was back in the early 1950's that the majority of people came to live in cities rather than in the rural areas. We also continue to live within a short distance of the American border. Along the historic east-west corridor first traversed by the fur trade, then the railroad and now the trans-canada highway. As a result, it seems Canada will always have a vast wilderness area in its north, both the near North and the Far North which includes the Arctic region. Hopefully we will learn to care for it better as resource extraction temporarily draws more workers to the North.
It is interesting that the three territories now total over 100.000 people. Aboriginal peoples have a large say, politically, in how this part of Canada will be used.
2006 Census: Portrait of the Canadian Population in 2006 2
The census is a wonderful resource, which the government uses to make decisions about Canada programs and we can use to learn more about our country and our heritage. I invite you to expore Canada through it.