2016 Census: The Canadian families of today and yesteryear

Catalogue number: Catalogue number: 11-629-x

Issue number: 2017006

Release date: August 2, 2017
2016 Census: The Canadian families of today and yesteryear - Transcript

Description of visuals

(The Statistics Canada symbol and Canada wordmark appear onscreen with the title: "2016 Census: The Canadian families of today and yesteryear.")

There are now 9.8 million families in Canada, according to the 2016 Census. This is 15 times as many as in 1871, when the first census was taken after Confederation. Yet as the number of families increased, their size decreased.

(A maple leaf with a family of four in front of it rotates into view. The words "9.8 million families" appear next to it. The maple leaf rotates out of view, and the 2016 Census logo appears. Three fists slide onscreen from different angles. The fists open to show 15 fingers. The hands move out of view, and the year “1871” becomes visible. The year changes colour and becomes part of an 1871 Census questionnaire fading into view. The questionnaire swivels out of view, and three different families appear. Then, a few members of each family fade out.)

Back in the 19th century, Canada was mostly a rural society with small, family-run farms. Larger families meant that more children were around to help run the farm. But families have always come in different shapes and sizes. Even then, lone-parent families and stepfamilies were quite common, because mortality was much higher.

(A small farm appears onscreen with cows and a family of four walking towards the growing crops. Six more children walk towards the crops. Two families represented by white cut-outs appear onscreen. They slide out of view, and two smaller families take their place. A tombstone with flowers appears.)

This led to early widowhood and remarriage. Other people stayed single for economic or religious reasons.

(A woman and a man are onscreen. The man slides downwards and is replaced by another man. A thought bubble materializes above the man’s head, and a bag of money and a church appear inside it.)

Many changes have taken place since then, such as the Divorce Act of 1968, the birth-control pill, the growing participation of women in both paid work and higher education, and the legalization of same-sex marriage.

(A piece of paper with the words "Divorce Act – 1968" written on it rotates into view. Then, a box of birth control pills takes its place. The box disappears, and a professional woman is now onscreen. Another woman in a graduation gown appears alongside her. Both women are now in wedding gowns holding hands.)

Since the 1970s, women have been having less than two children on average.

(A disco ball drops from the top of the screen, and a family dressed in 1970s fashions is dancing.)

Canadian families, while clearly smaller than at the time of Confederation, are now more diverse and complex than ever before.

(The concept image of a family made up of four maple leaves is onscreen. More families of four, represented by maple leaves of different colours and sizes, appear around the first family.)

Today, fewer families are made up of married couples, while common-law couples and lone-parent families have increased steadily over the last decades.

(The camera zooms in on the first family; now wearing a bow tie, jewelry and a wedding ring. The camera slides over to reveal a family of four and slides over yet again to show a single-parent family. All different types of families converge together onscreen.)

The family situation of children has also changed significantly, partly because today's parents often separate before their children have left home.

(Two young siblings are playing soccer together. The camera slides over to show parents (male and female) facing each other. A heart floats above them and breaks apart. The man walks away with his head down.)

Many children now spend part of their childhood in a lone-parent family, possibly living part of the time with each parent or in a stepfamily.

(The camera slides over back to the children having a picnic with their father. A moose is seen running across the screen behind the trees. The camera pans back to the mother, who stands in front of her house with both children. Another man and his daughter walk towards the family. The mother blushes.)

In 2016, 10% of children aged 0 to 14 lived in a stepfamily. And, still others lived with only their grandparents, with other relatives, or in a foster family.

(A brother and a sister holding hands slide in. Their father and stepmother appear in front of a house. The parents and their house slide out of view and are replaced by the children's grandparents and a different house.)

For the past 150 years, the Census has given us an insight into how Canadian families live and the dramatic ways that families have changed.

(The words "150 years" appear onscreen. The camera moves downwards and reveals a smiling census questionnaire raising a pair of binoculars to its eyes. Through the binoculars, we see a family of three sitting in a canoe, fishing in the middle of a lake, followed by a family of four ice-skating on a pond. The camera then moves to the side to show a man chopping wood while his daughter is lying in the fallen leaves nearby. The camera pans left, revealing a lone-parent family sitting on a couch in the living room eating popcorn.)

Along with millions of other Canadians, you took part in a long-standing tradition that helps us understand where we come from, who we are today, and how to shape our future.

(Multiple maple tree seeds fall to the ground. Maple trees sprout from the seeds.)

Thank you for completing your census questionnaire and for watching this video. For more information, and to access results for your community from the 2016 Census, please visit www.statcan.gc.ca/census.

(A laptop slides into view, and the words "2016 Census" and a "SUBMIT" button appear. A mouse cursor clicks the button and the words "Thank you!" appear. The 2016 Census logo appears on the laptop's screen followed by the website address "www.statcan.gc.ca/census.")

(The slogan "Your census. Your neighbourhood. Your future." appears. The Canada wordmark also appears.)

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