The shrinking household: 3 ways Canadian society has changed over the past century
A man and woman, centre, stand on the balcony of a condo unit surrounded by other condominium towers in Yaletown in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Published Monday, November 23, 2015 10:49AM EST
The shrinking size of Canadian households coincides with social and historic changes in the country's last 100 years, according to a new report from Statistics Canada released Monday.
While the number of people per house in the 1950s and 60s was much larger, typically consisting of two parents and children, nowadays one-person and two-person households account for more than 60 per cent of all households.
Here are three ways households in Canada have evolved over the last century:
Fewer people per house
In the 1940s there were 2.6 million households in Canada with an average of 4.3 people per home. According to Statistics Canada, almost 40 per cent of households at the time were classified as large, with five people or more.
The trend of large households continued into the 1950s and 60s as Canada's population jumped with the post-war baby boom. Large households remained the most common household size until 1976, when two-person households became most prevalent.
By 2011, the number of households in Canada had increased to 13.3 million, while the average size had dropped to 2.5 people per household.
More one-person households than five-person households
The 1981 census marked the first time that one-person households (20.3 per cent of all households) surpassed the number of households with five or more people (14.6 per cent). Since then, the gap has continued to widen.
In 2011, households consisting of one person made up 27.6 per cent of all households, and surpassed the number of households that include a couple with children (26.5 per cent).
Fertility, divorce rate influencing household size
A higher divorce rate has produced smaller household sizes over time, according to the Statistics Canada report. Changes to the divorce legislation in 1968 and again in 1986, were partly behind higher rates of separation and divorce, which led to the creation of two smaller households following the dissolution of one larger one. Between 1966 and 1986, the growth in the number of private households was about twice as fast as it was for the population in private households.
Lower fertility rates and an aging population are also behind the shift to smaller households, according to the report.