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Traditional families in decline



Fewer Whistler couples getting married, having children

Statistics Canada released its latest report this week based on the 2001 census on Families and Dwelling Statistics.

While the reports were hardly shocking, they do point to a continued trend in Canada for couples to avoid marriages and the traditional two-kid households. In Whistler, the trend is a little more advanced than in the rest of Canada and B.C. In addition, Whistlerites are more likely to rent than own their houses.

According to the census there were 8,371,020 families of two or more in Canada in 2001. Only 5,901,425, or 70.5 per cent, of families are married couple families, while the remainder are common law or single parent households.

In fact, there are 1,158,410 common law families, and 1,311,190 lone parent families. The majority of lone parent families are single mothers, accounting for 1,065,365 of the total.

In other words, common law families account for 13 per cent of all families, while another 15.6 per cent are single parent families – of which 81 per cent are single mothers.

In Whistler, there are 1,880 families. Of that number, just 1,240, or less than 66 per cent of the total, are married.

Some 450 families are common law; 24 per cent of the total.

Whistler families also tend to stick together. In the census, there were 180 single parent families in Whistler, which is nine per cent of families. Also interesting is the fact that a third of all single parent families are single fathers.

Whistlerites are also having smaller families these days, compared to the rest of Canada which is also in decline.

Nationally, about 41 per cent of couples do not have any children, which is up three per cent compared to 1991.

The couples who have had children in the past 30 years are discovering that the kids don’t want to leave – the census also discovered that 41 per cent of Canadians aged 20 to 29 were still living at home. Twenty years ago, the number was 27 per cent.

In Canada, the average number of people in a married couple family is 3.1, for an average of 1.1 children per family. An average common law family has 2.8 people, while the average single parent family has 2.5 people, or 1.5 kids.

In Whistler, the average family has just 2.9 people. Common law families have 2.2 people, and single parents have 1.4 kids.

On the private dwelling side of things, there are 3,585 dwellings in Whistler, of which 1,925 are owned and 1,655 are rental properties. Forty-five of every 100 houses in Whistler are being used as rental properties.

The statistics on families and dwellings can partially be explained by the fact that Whistler is the 18th youngest town in Canada, according to a previous Census release.

In addition, there is still a disparity between male and female populations that makes it unlikely that the number of Whistler families is gong to explode any time soon. According to the 2001 census, there are 121.5 men for every 100 women.