Fewer single-parent families on P.E.I., census indicates

·2 min read
While the percentage of single-parent families has fallen on P.E.I., the number of households run by a dad has gone up. (Shutterstock - image credit)
While the percentage of single-parent families has fallen on P.E.I., the number of households run by a dad has gone up. (Shutterstock - image credit)

The chances of a child growing up in a single-parent family has been falling on P.E.I. over the last decade.

That's according to 2021 census data released Wednesday morning by Statistics Canada.

In 2011, the percentage of families led by a single parent on P.E.I. was about the same as it was in Canada as a whole, just over 16 per cent.

In the two subsequent censuses, that number has been largely unchanged for Canada, but it fell in both 2016 and 2021 on P.E.I., landing at 15.5 per cent last year.

Percentage of families led by single parent

In 2016, the actual number of single-parent families had fallen from five years before. Taking into account the rapidly growing population in the last five years, the total number of single-parent families rose, but not as quickly as those led by couples.

P.E.I. followed, and caught up with, the national trend for more of those single parent families to be led by men.

In 2011, at 20.2 per cent, one-parent families led by men were more than a percentage point behind the national average, but by 2021 it climbed to 22.7 per cent, only 0.1 percentage point off the national average.

Kids who split their time between two homes were included in the home where they lived most of the time. Those who spent an equal amount of time with each parent or guardian were included in the house where they were staying on the day the census was conducted.

The census notes that given the small size of P.E.I.'s non-binary population, "data aggregation to a two-category gender variable is sometimes necessary to protect the confidentiality of responses provided. "Respondents who identified as non-binary were distributed evenly between male and female.

Percentage of one-parent families led by men

The census also tracked the number of Islanders choosing to live common law, rather than getting married.

The percentage of couples living common law increased dramatically from 2011 to 2021, up about a third to 17.7 per cent. The rate is still below the national average. The 2021 census found 22.7 per cent of Canadian couples living common law.

Percentage of couples living common law

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