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2006 Census: Family portrait: Continuity and change in Canadian families and households in 2006: National portrait: Households

Large increase in number of one-person households

The number of private households has been growing faster than the population in private households during each intercensal period for at least the past 20 years. Between 2001 and 2006, the number of households increased 7.6%, while the population in private households rose only 5.3%.

During the previous intercensal period, 1996 to 2001, the number of private households grew 6.9%, and the population in these households increased only 4.0%. This can be explained by an overall decrease in household size and the rapid growth of one-person households over the past 10 years.

Figure 6 One-person households and households containing couples without children are growing the fastest

The population grows either through natural increase or immigration. In contrast, the growth of households reflects a reconfiguration of the existing population. For example, when a couple sets up a new home together, young adults leave the parental home, or a divorced couple seeks separate accommodations.

Between 2001 and 2006, both the number of one-person households and households comprised of couples without children grew more than twice as fast as the population in private households. The number of one-person households was up 11.8%, while the number of households comprised of couples without children increased 11.2%. In contrast, the population in private households rose only 5.3%.

Households with the slowest growth between 2001 and 2006 were those comprised of couples and children, which edged up only 0.4%. However, this reversed a decline of 0.9% during the period 1996 to 2001. The slow growth of households with couples and children likely reflects not only low levels of fertility, but to some degree, the aging of the population, as fewer couples have younger children living at home.

Indeed, in 2006, there was a slightly higher proportion of households comprised of couples without children (29.0%) than households with couples and children (28.5%). In 2001, the opposite was true, as there were more households with couples and children than without (30.5% and 28.0%, respectively).

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