Recent Immigrants in Metropolitan Areas: Edmonton—A Comparative Profile Based on the 2001 Census

Part C: Families and Households

Family and household affiliation of individuals

Nine out of ten recent immigrants live with relatives

Very few recent immigrants live alone. Like the Canadian-born population, a large majority of recent immigrants live in households with at least two people, and in most cases, these are people with whom they are related by blood, marriage or adoption. In fact, recent immigrants are more likely than the Canadian-born population to live with relatives. This difference is seen in all age groups, but is most notable among people aged 65 and over. Among Canadian-born seniors in Edmonton, two-thirds live with relatives, while almost one-third live alone. By comparison, nine out of ten recent immigrants aged 65 and over live with relatives, while less than one in ten lives alone. In part, these figures probably reflect a difference in the average age of recent immigrant seniors and Canadian-born seniors.

Table C-1: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—living arrangements, by age, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born Immigrants Immigrated before 1986 Immigrated 1986-1995 Immigrated 1996-2001
All ages (including 0-14 years)
Living alone 72,340 16,420 12,960 2,430 1,030
Living with non-relatives only 37,870 4,250 2,130 1,370 760
Living with relatives 643,410 144,300 84,790 40,320 19,190
15-24 years
Living alone 6,100 530 130 280 120
Living with non-relatives only 12,930 780 190 380 230
Living with relatives 106,270 12,740 2,750 7,120 2,910
25-44 years
Living alone 27,190 3,760 1,860 1,190 730
Living with non-relatives only 16,660 2,050 840 740 470
Living with relatives 193,260 49,050 21,750 18,460 8,870
45-64 years
Living alone 20,550 4,910 4,160 620 140
Living with non-relatives only 5,360 950 730 180 40
Living with relatives 126,650 52,460 41,390 8,550 2,560
65 years and over
Living alone 18,510 7,230 6,820 360 50
Living with non-relatives only 1,470 470 380 70 20
Living with relatives 40,990 22,870 18,980 3,250 670
 
All ages (including 0-14 years)
Living alone 10% 10% 13% 6% 5%
Living with non-relatives only 5% 3% 2% 3% 4%
Living with relatives 85% 87% 85% 91% 91%
15-24 years
Living alone 5% 4% 4% 4% 4%
Living with non-relatives only 10% 6% 6% 5% 7%
Living with relatives 85% 91% 90% 92% 89%
25-44 years
Living alone 11% 7% 8% 6% 7%
Living with non-relatives only 7% 4% 3% 4% 5%
Living with relatives 82% 89% 89% 91% 88%
45-64 years
Living alone 13% 8% 9% 7% 5%
Living with non-relatives only 4% 2% 2% 2% 1%
Living with relatives 83% 90% 89% 92% 94%
65 years and over
Living alone 30% 24% 26% 10% 7%
Living with non-relatives only 2% 2% 1% 2% 2%
Living with relatives 67% 75% 73% 88% 91%

Note: For definitions of living arrangements and related concepts, see the Glossary.

Recent immigrants more likely to live in extended families

Recent immigrants are similar to Canadian-born individuals in that most live in nuclear families, with no relatives other than the immediate members of the nuclear family. However, recent immigrants are more likely than the Canadian-born population to live in extended family situations. Of the Canadian-born population living with one or more relatives, only 6% are part of an extended family. The proportion of recent immigrants living with relatives in an extended family is more than twice as large, one in seven.

Figure C-1: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—percentage living with relatives in an extended family, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2001
Figure C-1

Note: For definitions of extended and nuclear families, see the Glossary. Whereas Table C-1 includes all persons, Figure C-1 and Table C-2 include only persons who are living with relatives. A small percentage of individuals living with relatives are in “non-family” households. An example might be two adult brothers living together. The percentage of individuals in these situations is not shown in the table and figure in this section.

Older recent immigrants are most likely to live in an extended family. One in three of very recent immigrants aged 65 and over live in extended families, compared to less than one in ten Canadian-born seniors. Older recent immigrants living in extended families are most often related to someone within a nuclear family and are not members of the nuclear family itself.

Table C-2: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—living with relatives in nuclear or extended family, by age, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born Immigrants Immigrated before 1986 Immigrated 1986-1995 Immigrated 1996-2001
All ages
Nuclear family 592,800 123,290 74,290 32,600 16,420
Extended family 39,950 18,680 9,130 7,030 2,530
Under 15 years
Nuclear family 165,320 6,400 2,590 3,810
Extended family 10,500 770 400 365
15-24 years
Nuclear family 94,840 10,510 2,300 5,890 2,320
Extended family 8,500 1,890 350 1,060 510
25-44 years
Nuclear family 178,940 41,690 18,810 15,120 7,760
Extended family 10,670 6,590 2,560 3,030 1,010
45-64 years
Nuclear family 117,520 46,350 37,290 6,970 2,100
Extended family 7,170 5,560 3,680 1,430 450
65 years and over
Nuclear family 36,180 18,360 15,890 2,040 430
Extended family 3,130 3,880 2,560 1,120 220
 
All ages
Nuclear family 92% 85% 88% 81% 86%
Extended family 6% 13% 11% 17% 13%
Under 15 years
Nuclear family 94% 89% 87% 91%
Extended family 6% 11% 13% 9%
15-24 years
Nuclear family 89% 82% 84% 83% 80%
Extended family 8% 15% 13% 15% 17%
25-44 years
Nuclear family 93% 85% 87% 82% 87%
Extended family 6% 13% 12% 16% 11%
45-64 years
Nuclear family 93% 88% 90% 82% 82%
Extended family 6% 11% 9% 17% 17%
65 years and over
Nuclear family 88% 80% 84% 63% 63%
Extended family 8% 17% 13% 34% 33%

Note: For definitions of extended and nuclear families, see the Glossary. Whereas Table C-1 includes all persons, Figure C-1 and Table C-2 include only persons who are living with relatives. A small percentage of individuals living with relatives are in “non-family” households. An example might be two adult brothers living together. The percentage of individuals in these situations is not shown in the table and figure in this section. Consequently, the percentages in Table C-2 do not add to 100%.

Families

One in ten families is a recent immigrant family

In Edmonton in 2001, there were 65,200 recent immigrants who landed in Canada between 1986 and 2001. A large majority of these immigrants—55,800 or 86%—were members of a nuclear family. In other words, they were husbands, wives, common-law partners, lone parents or children. One in ten families in Edmonton is a recent immigrant family—that is, a family in which either or both spouses or the lone parent are recent immigrants. In Canada as a whole, one in nine families is a recent immigrant family.

Most of the recent immigrant families consist of married or common-law couples, while 10% are lone-parent families. Among Canadian-born families, 17% are lone-parent families, while 83% are married or common-law couples.

When families are grouped by the age of the oldest member, lone-parent families are less common among young recent immigrant families than among their Canadian-born counterparts, but slightly more common among families of seniors.

Table C-3: Recent immigrant and Canadian-born families—family structure, by age of older spouse or lone parent, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born families Recent immigrant families
All families (including 15-24 years)
Couples with or without children 145,630 83% 22,410 90%
Lone-parent families 29,450 17% 2,410 10%
Total number of families 175,080 100% 24,810 100%
25-44 years
Couples with or without children 66,860 80% 13,210 90%
Lone-parent families 16,480 20% 1,430 10%
Total number of families 83,340 100% 14,640 100%
45-64 years
Couples with or without children 55,280 86% 7,070 91%
Lone-parent families 9,240 14% 670 9%
Total number of families 64,520 100% 7,740 100%
65 years and over
Couples with or without children 19,440 90% 1,840 88%
Lone-parent families 2,060 10% 250 12%
Total number of families 21,500 100% 2,090 100%

Note: For definitions of family and related concepts, see the Glossary. Since the 1996 Census there have been changes to the definition of family.

Recent immigrant families more likely to have children in the home

Recent immigrant and Canadian-born families differ in the proportion of families with children at home. Three in four recent immigrant families have at least one child of any age living at home. By comparison, less than two-thirds of Canadian-born families have children at home.

Figure C-2: Recent immigrant and Canadian-born families—never-married children living at home, by age of older spouse or lone parent, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (percentage)
Figure C-2

This difference occurs mainly among families whose oldest member is 45 to 64 years old. Four in five of recent immigrant families and three in five Canadian-born families in this age group have children in the home. Among younger families there is only a small difference between recent immigrants and the Canadian-born.

The higher proportion of older recent immigrant families with children living at home could be due to a greater likelihood that older children stay longer in the parental home, as well as possible differences in the timing of childbirth and level of fertility. Some of the children in older immigrant families may be adults living with and possibly supporting one or two aging parents.

Older recent immigrant families have more children living at home

Recent immigrant families with children are somewhat more likely to have more than two children in the home than Canadian-born families with children. As many as 22% of recent immigrant families with children have three or more children, compared to 19% of Canadian-born families.

The share of young families with children who have three or more children is actually higher for Canadian-born families. However, one-quarter of recent immigrant families with children whose older spouse or lone parent is 45 to 64 years old have more than two children, compared to 15% of Canadian-born families. Among the oldest recent immigrant families with children, 13% have three or more children living at home, compared to only 2% of Canadian-born families.

Table C-4: Recent immigrant and Canadian-born families—never-married children living at home, by age of older spouse or lone parent, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born families Recent immigrant families
All ages (including 15-24 years)
One child 45,650 41% 6,820 37%
Two children 45,050 40% 7,770 42%
Three or more children 20,800 19% 4,010 22%
25-44 years
One child 20,920 33% 4,200 36%
Two children 28,690 45% 5,140 44%
Three or more children 14,570 23% 2,310 20%
45-64 years
One child 18,960 47% 2,130 34%
Two children 15,250 38% 2,430 39%
Three or more children 6,030 15% 1,620 26%
65 years and over
One child 3,690 88% 400 60%
Two children 460 11% 180 27%
Three or more children 70 2% 90 13%

In majority of recent immigrant families both spouses are recent immigrants

The majority of the 24,810 recent immigrant families consist of a recently immigrated husband married to or living common-law with a recently immigrated wife, with or without children. An additional 14% of families have a recently immigrated spouse and a spouse who immigrated before 1986. One in five recent immigrant families has a recent immigrant paired with a Canadian-born spouse. This type of family structure is a little more common in Edmonton than in Canada as a whole, where one in seven recent immigrants are paired with a Canadian-born spouse. Of the families of immigrants who landed before 1986, four in ten consist of an immigrant paired with a Canadian-born spouse (not shown in Figure C-3).

Figure C-3: Recent immigrant families—family structure showing immigrant status of spouses, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (percentage distribution)
Figure C-3

When recent immigrants enter into conjugal unions, they are very likely to do so as a legally married couple. Just 2% of recent immigrant couples live common-law, compared to 16% of Canadian-born couples. Even among younger couples, where common-law relationships are the clear preference of the Canadian-born, relatively few recent immigrant couples have chosen this option.

Table C-5: Recent immigrant and Canadian-born families—couples in common-law relationships, by age of older spouse, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born families Recent immigrant families
All ages 22,580 16% 330 2%
15-24 years 2,960 73% 40 33%
25-44 years 13,500 20% 210 3%
45-64 years 5,440 10% 80 2%
65 years and over 690 4% 0 0%

The low incidence of common-law relationships is in part a result of immigration law, which, prior to the introduction of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in June 2002, did not recognize common-law relationships.

Households

One in twelve households is a recent immigrant household

In 2001, there were 29,980 recent immigrant households—households in which at least one member of 15 years of age or older was a recent immigrant. These made up 8% of the total number of households in Edmonton.

One out of three recent immigrant households, or 10,270 in total, have at least one member who immigrated after 1995. For a little less than half of these households, all members are very recent immigrants. The remaining 5,700 households consist of very recent immigrants living together with other persons. In 60% of these households, the other persons are immigrants who landed before 1996, in 33% they are Canadian-born persons, and in 7% of these households they are both Canadian-born persons and immigrants who landed prior to 1996.

Table C-6: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Number of
households
Share of
all households
Canadian-born 261,690 73%
Earlier immigrants 63,250 18%
Recent immigrants 29,980 8%
 1986-1995 immigrants 19,720 6%
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 5,710 2%
 1996-2001 immigrants only 4,560 1%
All households 356,520 100%

Note: The total “All households” includes households of non-permanent residents not shown in the table. For definitions of household and related concepts, see the Glossary.

More than seven out of ten households in Edmonton consist of only Canadian-born persons. Households that include one or more earlier immigrants but no recent immigrants account for 18% of households.

Recent immigrant households more likely to be larger than a nuclear family

A recent immigrant household is much more likely than a Canadian-born household to consist of one or more families. The large majority of recent immigrant households are family households, compared to just two out of three Canadian-born households.

One in three Canadian-born households is a non-family household, and most of these consist of a person living alone. Among recent immigrant households, persons living alone are rarer.

Most households consist of a nuclear family—that is, a couple with or without children or a lone parent with one or more children. Immigrant households, except for households of very recent immigrants with others, are somewhat more likely to consist of just a nuclear family than Canadian-born households.

A significant proportion of recent immigrant households consist of a nuclear family living with other persons. In most of these “expanded-family” households, the non-family person or persons are related to the family. Expanded-family households occur much less frequently among the Canadian-born.

Table C-7: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households—household structure, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
    Family households Non-family households
Households All family house-holds Nuclear families Expanded families Multiple families Single person Multiple persons
Canadian-born 172,350 157,840 12,990 1,520 72,330 16,990
Earlier immigrants 48,060 43,280 3,970 810 12,970 2,240
Recent immigrants 24,940 19,000 3,850 2,090 3,450 1,610
 1986-1995 immigrants 16,200 12,590 2,460 1,160 2,430 1,080
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 5,350 3,280 1,180 890 0 360
 1996-2001 immigrants only 3,370 3,130 210 30 1,030 170
All households 245,980 220,730 20,830 4,420 89,460 21,090
 
Canadian-born 66% 60% 5% 1% 28% 6%
Earlier immigrants 76% 68% 6% 1% 20% 4%
Recent immigrants 83% 63% 13% 7% 12% 5%
 1986-1995 immigrants 82% 64% 12% 6% 12% 5%
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 94% 57% 21% 16% 0% 6%
 1996-2001 immigrants only 74% 69% 5% 1% 22% 4%
All households 69% 62% 6% 1% 25% 6%

Note: The total “All households” includes households of non-permanent residents not shown in the table. For definitions of household and related concepts, see the Glossary.

Households of recent immigrants are also much more likely than Canadian-born households to consist of two or more families. These families may be related to each other, as for example a married couple living with the family of one of their children. Multiple family households are most common among households combining very recent immigrants with other persons. Many recent immigrants clearly live in households that are different from the standard nuclear family.

Recent immigrant households tend to be large

Recent immigrant households are more likely to be large in size than Canadian-born and earlier immigrant households. One of every two recent immigrant households has one to three members, compared to three out of four Canadian-born households. The proportion of households with four or more members is twice as large among recent immigrant households as among Canadian-born households.

Table C-8: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households—household size, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Number of persons in household Total
Households 1 to 3 4 or 5 6 or more
Canadian-born 199,040 56,440 6,220 261,690
Earlier immigrants 45,170 15,840 2,250 63,250
Recent immigrants 15,950 10,750 3,280 29,980
 1986-1995 immigrants 10,060 7,510 2,160 19,730
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 3,010 1,720 980 5,710
 1996-2001 immigrants only 2,900 1,520 150 4,570
All households 261,500 83,240 11,780 356,520
  Number of persons in household Estimated
average size
Households 1 to 3 4 or 5 6 or more
Canadian-born 76% 22% 2% 2.5
Earlier immigrants 71% 25% 4% 2.8
Recent immigrants 53% 36% 11% 3.5
 1986-1995 immigrants 51% 38% 11% 3.6
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 53% 30% 17% 3.9
 1996-2001 immigrants only 64% 33% 3% 3.0
All households 73% 23% 3% 2.7

Note: The total “All households” includes households of non-permanent residents not shown in the table. For definitions of household and related concepts, see the Glossary. Average size of household is estimated assuming an average of 4.5 for households with four or five members and an average of 7 for households with six or more members. For households with one, two or three members, the actual size of household was used in the calculation.

Most of the larger recent immigrant households have four or five members. Households where very recent immigrants live together with other persons are most likely of all households to be large, with 17% of such households having six or more members. The share of equally large households among Canadian-born households is only 2%.

More care of children

The proportion of recent immigrants 15 years of age and over reporting time spent on unpaid care of children is higher than the proportion of Canadian-born persons in the same category. The share spending time on a regular basis to look after elder persons is more or less the same for both groups.

Table C-9: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—15 years of age and over—reporting unpaid care of children or elders, by gender, Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage)
  Care of
  Children Elders
Women
Canadian-born 123,000 32% 60,150 16%
Immigrants 36,670 43% 16,240 19%
 Immigrated before 1986 19,550 39% 10,680 21%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 12,300 52% 4,190 18%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 4,820 43% 1,370 12%
Men
Canadian-born 96,740 26% 40,250 11%
Immigrants 28,520 36% 11,970 15%
 Immigrated before 1986 16,780 34% 8,110 16%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 8,230 40% 2,930 14%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 3,520 36% 940 9%
Total
Canadian-born 219,740 29% 100,400 13%
Immigrants 65,190 39% 28,210 17%
 Immigrated before 1986 36,320 36% 18,780 19%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 20,530 46% 7,120 16%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 8,340 40% 2,310 11%
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