Canadian Single Parent Families

last updated January 21, 2009

The number of homes led by a lone-parent in Canada has been on the rise for the last four decades. Research continually bears out the fact that lone-parent homes are at an economic disadvantage compared to common-law and married couples, with or without children.

  • Lone-parent families accounted for 16.3 percent of all census families in 2011, up from 15.7percent in 2001. In 1961, only 8.4 percent of census families were headed by lone parents.1
  • In 2011, there were 1,527,840 lone-parent families in Canada accounting for an eight percent change since 2001.2
  • There are four female lone-parent families for every one male lone-parent family in Canada.3
  • In 1961, 61.5 percent of lone-parents were widowed, 35.8 percent were divorced or separated and 2.7 percent were never married. By 2011, 17.7 lone-parents were widowed, 50.8 percent were divorced or separated and 31.5 percent were never married.4
  • The average after-tax income for male headed lone-parent families in 2010 was $56,900, down from $57,300 in 2006. Female head homes had an average after-tax income of $44,800 in 2010, up from $39,700 in 2006.*5

*all figures in constant 2010 dollars.

Endnotes

  1. Statistics Canada. (2012). Figure 1. Distribution (in percentage) of families by family structure, Canada 1961 to 2011. Fifty years of families in Canada: 1961 to 2011. Retrieved from http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/as-sa/98-312-x/98-312-x2011003_1-eng.cfm
    For 2001 percentage see Statistics Canada. (2012). Table 1. Distribution (number and percentage) and percentage change of census families by family structure, Canada, 2001 to 2011. Portrait of families and living arrangements in Canada.  Retrieved from  http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/as-sa/98-312-x/2011001/tbl/tbl1-eng.cfm
  2. Statistics Canada. (2012). Table 1. Distribution (number and percentage) and percentage change of census families by family structure, Canada, 2001 to 2011.
  3. Statistics Canada. (2012). Fifty years of families in Canada: 1961 to 2011. Retrieved from http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/as-sa/98-312-x/98-312-x2011003_1-eng.cfm
  4. Statistics Canada. (2012). Description for figure 2. Distribution (in percentage) of the legal marital status of lone parents, Canada, 1961 to 2011. Fifty years of families in Canada: 1961 to 2011. Retrieved from http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/as-sa/98-312-x/2011003/fig/desc/desc3_1-2-eng.cfm
  5. Statistics Canada. (2012). Average income after tax by economic family types (2006 to 2010) Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/famil21a-eng.htm

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