Canadians making more friends today than ten years ago: StatsCan
In this Friday, March 27, 2015 photo, Azal "Mary" Saleh, left, and Muna Ahmed, childhood friends, hug one another, in Grand Rapids, Mich. According to a new Statistics Canada report, Canadians have more friends today than they did 10 years ago. (Chris Clark/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)
Emily Chan, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, May 20, 2015 11:37AM EDT
If your social life has picked up in the last decade, you’re not alone.
According to a new Statistics Canada report, Canadians have more friends today than they did 10 years ago.
The report, which was published Wednesday, found that 75 per cent of Canadians said they had three or more close friends in 2013. In 2003, only 70 per cent of Canadians said they were close with that many people.
Using data from the General Social Survey, the report also suggested that Canadians have also been connecting with more acquaintances in the last ten years. In 2003, only 56 per cent of Canadians said they had more than 10 friends beyond their core group, but in 2013, 60 per cent of Canadians reported having more than 10 other friends.
In addition to this, the survey found that these growing friend groups are increasingly diverse, and that in 2013, almost 60 per cent of Canadians had spent time with friends "from an ethnic group visibly different from their own."
The impact of social networking
According to the report, the rise of social networking online might be contributing to growing social networks in real life.
"It was found that Canadians who frequently used social networking sites were more likely to have three or more close friends," the report says. "These findings are not surprising, since the nature and purpose of these sites are to maintain social contacts with many people."
What’s more, these extra relationships aren’t just restricted to the virtual world, the report says. The survey suggested that people who use social networking sites were more likely to frequently see friends in person.
Overall, Canadians did report a decline in how often they see their friends in real life, a trend that the report says may be explained by an increase in other forms of communication, such as text messaging. But, the report said this didn’t seem to bother Canadians.
"The vast majority of people were satisfied with the frequency of the contacts," it said.
Seniors, Quebecers less likely to have close friends
On the downside, while 88 per cent of young people said they had three or more close friends in 2013, the report did find that seniors are "especially at risk of having no close friends." In 2013, 15 per cent of seniors reported having no close friends beyond their relatives.
"In other words," the report says. "Almost one in six had no close friends they could confide in or call for help."
People in Quebec were also less likely to have close friends than in the rest of the country, but on Prince Edward Island, only 2 per cent of residents said they didn’t have close friends in 2013.
The General Social Survey is based on responses from 73,047 Canadians aged 15 or older, who responded to surveys in 2003, 2008, and 2013. The survey excludes people living in full-time institutions.