Statistics Canada - Statistique Canada
Skip main navigation menuSkip secondary navigation menuHomeFrançaisContact UsHelpSearch the websiteCanada Site
The DailyCanadian StatisticsCommunity ProfilesProducts and servicesHome
CensusCanadian StatisticsCommunity ProfilesProducts and servicesOther links

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.

Media Room Search The Daily View or print The Daily in PDF format. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader The Daily archives Latest release from the Labour Force Survey Latest release from the Consumer Price Index Recently released products Latest economic indicators Release dates Get a FREE subscription to The Daily Information about The Daily The Daily
Thursday, November 20, 2003

Marriages

2001

The number of couples who got married in Canada declined sharply in 2001, while the nation's crude marriage rate sank to its lowest level ever.

A total of 146,618 couples tied the knot, down 6.8% from 157,395 in 2000.

The decline resumes the downward trend seen throughout the 1990s. The number of marriages rose in 1999 and 2000. However, the level reached in 2000, the highest in five years, may have been attributable to couples choosing to marry at the start of the new millennium.

The number of marriages in 2001 fell in all provinces and territories except the Northwest Territories (+2.9%) and Nunavut (+13.5%). Double-digit declines were experienced by Newfoundland and Labrador (-13.1%), New Brunswick (-12.2%), Quebec (-11.8%), Saskatchewan (-11.5%) and Nova Scotia (-11.1%).

The crude marriage rate fell to a record low of 4.7 marriages for every 1,000 people after holding steady at 5.1 for four years. Marriage data for 2001 indicate a return to a decreasing crude marriage rate.

Of the marriages performed in 2001, 76.4% were officiated by clergy and 23.6% by non-clergy, such as marriage commissioners, judges, justices of the peace or clerks of the court.

These percentages vary greatly by province and territory. In 10 provinces and territories, the majority of marriages were officiated by clergy. The proportion was particularly high in Ontario, where 98.5% of marriages in 2001 were performed by clergy. Only Yukon, Northwest Territories and British Columbia had more marriages officiated by non-clergy than clergy, with the highest proportion of non-clergy marriages in Yukon at 76.9%.

When it was a first marriage for both the bride and groom, the officiant was more likely to be a member of the clergy than was the case for re-marriages. First time marriages were officiated 81.6% of the time by clergy and 18.4% by non-clergy. Re-marriages were officiated 66.3% of the time by clergy and 33.6% of the time by non-clergy.

Canadians continue to marry later in life. On average, brides were 31.9 years old in 2001, up 2.6 years from 1991 and 5.7 years from 1981. The average age of grooms was 34.4 in 2001, an increase of 2.6 years from 1991 and 5.6 years from 1981.

First-time brides were the youngest group to marry in 2001, with an average age of 28.2. The average age of previously divorced brides was 41.4 and that of previously widowed brides, 56.4.

The average age of first-time grooms reached 30.2 in 2001. Previously divorced grooms were, on average, 45.0 years old, and previously widowed grooms had an average age of 62.9.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3232.

The shelf tables Marriages, 2001 (84F0212XPB, $22) are now available.

For general information or to order custom tabulations, contact Client Custom Services (613-951-1746; hd-ds@statcan.gc.ca). To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Patricia Tully (613-951-1759; patricia.tully@statcan.gc.ca) or Brent Day (613-951-4280; brent.day@statcan.gc.ca), Health Statistics Division.

Marriages by type of officiant1

2001

  Clergy Non-clergy2
  number % number %
Canada 111,973 76.4 34,589 23.6
Newfoundland and Labrador 2,497 84.2 454 15.3
Prince Edward Island 753 83.6 142 15.8
Nova Scotia 3,561 72.6 1,342 27.4
New Brunswick 2,913 74.6 993 25.4
Quebec 15,510 70.6 6,447 29.4
Ontario 61,616 98.5 939 1.5
Manitoba 3,540 59.3 2,427 40.7
Saskatchewan 3,323 65.7 1,737 34.3
Alberta 9,216 52.9 8,216 47.1
British Columbia 8,870 43.1 11,687 56.8
Yukon 33 22.4 113 76.9
Northwest Territories 51 35.9 81 57.0
Nunavut 90 89.1 11 10.9
1 This table excludes a small number of marriages (56 for Canada) for which the type of officiant was unknown.
2 Non-clergy includes the following types of officiant: judge, justice of the peace, marriage commissioner and clerk of the court.

Marriages1
  2000 2001 2000 to 2001 Crude marriage rate, 2001
  number % change per 1,000 people
Canada 157,395 146,618 -6.8 4.7
Newfoundland and Labrador 3,412 2,964 -13.1 5.6
Prince Edward Island 962 901 -6.3 6.5
Nova Scotia 5,517 4,903 -11.1 5.2
New Brunswick 4,447 3,906 -12.2 5.2
Quebec 24,912 21,961 -11.8 3.0
Ontario 65,426 62,574 -4.4 5.3
Manitoba 6,471 5,968 -7.8 5.2
Saskatchewan 5,717 5,060 -11.5 5.0
Alberta 18,063 17,433 -3.5 5.7
British Columbia 22,086 20,558 -6.9 5.0
Yukon 155 147 -5.2 4.9
Northwest Territories 138 142 2.9 3.4
Nunavut 89 101 13.5 3.6
1 Marriage statistics are compiled on the basis of province or territory of occurrence and may include marriages of non-residents of Canada and non-residents of the province or territory where the marriage took place.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]


Home | Search | Contact Us | Français Return to top of page
Date Modified: 2003-11-20 Important Notices