Text begins This article analyses patterns related to marital status and nuptiality in Canada.
Data on marital and conjugal status come primarily from the Census of Population, 1 with comparisons to historical data where appropriate, particularly The provinces with the largest shares of the population aged 15 and over that were married in were Newfoundland and Labrador The smallest shares of the population that was married were found in the territories: Yukon The decreasing share over time of the population that was married and the corresponding increase in the unmarried population may be related to a number of factors, including a higher average age at marriage and an increase in the divorced or separated population.
In addition, a higher proportion of people live in common-law unions than in the past—either as a relatively shorter-term relationship prior to marriage or as a longer-term alternative, as well as a fairly large share of young adults who live in the parental home, most of whom have never been married.
The population pyramids of the marital status categories for and show not only the changing age structure of the population but also the shifting concentrations of marital states. Specifically, in there was a smaller population that was married in the younger to middle adult years combined with a larger population of middle-aged to older adults that was never-married, divorced or separated compared to Figure 1.
Figure 1 Population pyramids of legal marital status by single year of age and sex, Canada, and Among the population that was never married, there was a large increase in the proportions for those in their twenties and thirties in compared to For young adults aged 25 to 29, the proportion who were never married rose from about one-quarter of this population Prior to age 65 in and before age 75 inmen were more likely than women to have never been legally married—especially for men under age 60 in and under age 35 in Figure 2.
This reflects that, on average, men tend to enter unions at slightly older ages than do women, and among opposite-sex couples, men tend to partner with women slightly younger than themselves. The share of men in their late twenties who were never married increased from Figure 2 Proportion of population aged 15 and over that was never married by age group and sex, Canada, and Even among individuals in their early thirties, the proportion of men who were never married increased from For women, the increase was from From age 65 onward, however, there was relative convergence between the sexes, and for both, the share that was never married was slightly larger in than in There has been an overall increase over the past three decades in the share of the population aged 15 and over that was divorced or separated, rising from 5.
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During the past decade, however, there has been a decreasing proportion of the population under age 50 that was divorced or separated, for both men and women Figure 3. For some age groups, the decline in share began even earlier: for example, For women in this age group, the shares fell from This could reflect the decreasing proportions of the population in these younger age groups that were legally married—largely due to the increase in common-law unions—therefore, the share that was divorced or separated would, in turn, be smaller.
Figure 3 Proportion of population aged 15 and over that was divorced or separated by age group, sex and birth cohort, Canada, to In contrast, for both women and men, the age of people who are divorced or separated has been shifting upward and the share has been increasing especially for individuals aged 50 and over.
Inabout one in five people in their late fifties were divorced or separated In comparison, in6.
The increase in the share of the population who are divorced or separated can also be examined from a birth cohort perspective. For example, to year-olds in were born in to and were, therefore, aged 25 to 29 in Over this thirty year period, there was about a three-fold increase in the share of women in this birth cohort who were divorced or separated and a nearly five-fold increase for men.
Older cohorts also experienced increases in the proportion that were divorced or separated until about their senior years, followed by slightly decreasing shares as they continued to age. There may be an overall larger share of the population who are divorced due to legislative changes during the past several decades which have made it easier to obtain a divorce.
It should also be noted that some separated individuals may not pursue a.