StatsCAN Plus

So you want to have a baby

May 15, 2024, 11:00 a.m. (EDT)

Are you thinking about starting or expanding your family? If so, we have all the bases covered, from the expenses related to raising a child, government supports available to parents, day care costs, even potential names.

Roughly two-thirds of people aged 15 to 49 either have children or plan to have children

In 2022, we asked youth and adults aged 15 to 49 how many children in total they intended to have.

Approximately two-thirds said they intended to have at least one, with 12% wanting one child, 36% two, 14% three and 6% wanting four or more children.

In addition to biological parenthood, individuals may also parent a child via adoptive or step relationships. Among persons aged 15 to 49 in 2022, 2% had at least one adopted child, while 9% had at least one stepchild.

Almost half of partners claimed or intended to claim parental benefits in 2022

Since the introduction of the sharable Parental Benefits Program in 1990, both parents can take time away from paid work to care for a newborn or newly adopted child with partial earnings replacement (if eligible).

In 2022, 47% of partners claimed or intended to claim parental benefits, up from 35% prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 and 20% in 2006. When looking at mothers exclusively, 94% claimed or intended to claim parental benefits in 2022.

Quebec has historically had a higher share of parents with insurable employment and a higher proportion of insured parents receiving maternity or parental benefits than the Canadian average.

In 2022, eligible partners living in Quebec (93%) were three times more likely to claim or intend to claim benefits for the birth or adoption of their child than partners in the rest of Canada (31%).

How much do parents spend raising a child?

Over the period from 2014 to 2017, medium-income Canadian families spent approximately $293,000 (in 2017 dollars) to raise a child from birth to age 17 (an average of $17,235 per year) in a two-parent family with two children (the most common family type among families with children ). These expenditures covered food, shelter, clothing, transportation, health care, education, and other costs like personal care products or recreation equipment.

Two-parent families with two children and an annual before-tax household income of more than $135,790 in 2016 spent on average $403,910 per child from birth to age 17. By way of comparison, the same-sized family making less than $83,013 spent on average $238,190.

Over recent decades, the prevalence of young adults living with their parents has grown. When children aged 18 to 22 living with one or two parents are considered, the overall amount spent rises by 29% for both one- and two-parent families. This is likely due to the longer period of expenses as well as higher education costs for this age group.

Child care expenses

Given how much parents spend raising a child, perhaps it is not surprising that among  couple families with children aged five and younger in 2021, 68% had parents who were both working, increasing the need for child care.

The amount parents pay for their child’s main child care arrangement varies by age of child, hours in care and type of arrangement. In 2023, parents reported paying an average of $6,521 per year for the main full-time (30 or more hours per week) child care arrangement for their child five years of age and younger (when excluding Quebec, the average was $7,557). 

This equates to an average of $543 per month for full-time child care ($630 per month when excluding Quebec), or $26 per day ($30 per day when excluding Quebec).

Child benefits help cover the expenses related to raising a child

Government transfers can play an important role in defraying some of the expenses associated with raising a child.

Child benefits are the largest component of government transfers for couples with children and one-parent families, accounting for 44% and 49% respectively of the overall government transfers paid to these families in 2022. Thus, most (92%) couple families with children received child benefits in 2022 and among these families with child benefits, the median amount received was $5,300. For one-parent families, 99% of them received child benefits in 2022, for a median amount of $7,300.

Looking for baby names

Statistics Canada has recently compiled a list of the nation’s most popular baby names from 1991 to 2022.

In 2022, Noah was the most popular boy name for the second straight year. Noah unseated Liam in 2021, which was the number one boy name from 2012 to 2020.

Among girls, Olivia kept the top spot, undefeated for seven consecutive years. From 2003 to 2022, the number one spot was held by either Emma or Olivia—with Olivia ranked first in 11 of the 13 years from 2010 to 2022.

Trends suggest that more and more, new parents want their child’s name to stand out from the crowd: the diversity of baby names is growing—in the last 30 years, there has been a 31% increase in the number of baby names in Canada. In total, unique or rarenames (fewer than five children with the same name) accounted for 86% of all baby names in 2022.

Expecting more family data soon

StatCan is continuing to track family trajectories through the 2024 Survey on Family Transitions. The survey explores—for the seventh time—the experiences of families in Canada through time by examining how individuals and families change during various stages of life, from childhood to adulthood to retirement.

The survey will examine changes in family transitions, and help answer questions such as are young adults still delaying moving out of their parents’ home, and are many Canadians experiencing separation or divorce, or that of their parents?

It will also look at whether Canadians are delaying having children and whether they are intending to marry and have children. 

Survey results will also be used to compare Canadian families to those in other countries.

United Nations International Day of Families

May 15 is the United Nations International Day of Families. This year (2024) also marks the 30th anniversary of the United Nations International Year of the Family.

The theme for this year’s International Day of Families is how climate change impacts families and how families can do their part to help the environment, especially in regard to climate change.

Here are a few stories of how Canadian households are reducing their environmental footprint.

StatsCAN app

Did you know you can read StatsCAN Plus articles and more on the StatsCAN app? If you’re already using the app, let us know what you think by leaving a review in the App Store and Google Play.

Contact information

For more information, contact the Statistical Information Service (toll-free 1-800-263-1136514-283-8300; or Media Relations (