Recent Immigrants in Metropolitan Areas: Québec—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. Almost two-thirds of Québec’s Canadian-born seniors 65 years of age and over live with relatives in comparison to approximately 80% of very recent immigrants in this age group.

Table C-1: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—living arrangements, by age, Québec 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 92,830 2,420 1,570 460 380
Living with non-relatives only 22,870 590 290 210 90
Living with relatives 531,280 16,450 6,600 5,150 4,720
15-24 years
Living alone 5,150 40 20 20 10
Living with non-relatives only 6,640 130 50 70 20
Living with relatives 77,730 1,830 410 860 540
25-44 years
Living alone 27,300 840 210 290 330
Living with non-relatives only 9,950 310 90 150 70
Living with relatives 156,850 5,980 1,590 2,140 2,240
45-64 years
Living alone 33,440 950 800 130 40
Living with non-relatives only 4,710 120 100 0 10
Living with relatives 140,640 4,360 3,240 860 280
65 years and over
Living alone 26,960 600 550 30 20
Living with non-relatives only 1,290 50 50 0 0
Living with relatives 49,050 1,540 1,330 160 70
 
All ages (including 0-14 years)
Living alone 14% 12% 19% 8% 7%
Living with non-relatives only 4% 3% 3% 4% 2%
Living with relatives 82% 85% 78% 88% 91%
15-24 years
Living alone 6% 2% 3% 2% 2%
Living with non-relatives only 7% 6% 10% 7% 4%
Living with relatives 87% 92% 87% 91% 95%
25-44 years
Living alone 14% 12% 11% 11% 12%
Living with non-relatives only 5% 4% 5% 6% 2%
Living with relatives 81% 84% 84% 83% 85%
45-64 years
Living alone 19% 18% 19% 13% 11%
Living with non-relatives only 3% 2% 2% 0% 3%
Living with relatives 79% 80% 78% 87% 86%
65 years and over
Living alone 35% 27% 29% 16% 22%
Living with non-relatives only 2% 2% 3% 0% 0%
Living with relatives 63% 71% 69% 84% 78%

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 to live in extended family situations. Of the Canadian-born population living with one or more relatives, only 3% are part of an extended family compared to 5% of very recent immigrants and 8% of other recent immigrants.

Figure C-1: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—percentage living with relatives in an extended family, Québec 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.

Extended-family living arrangements are most common among older recent immigrants. Over one-third of very recent immigrants aged 65 years and over live in extended families, compared to only 6% of 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, Québec Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born Immigrants Immigrated before 1986 Immigrated 1986-1995 Immigrated 1996-2001
All ages
Nuclear family 507,150 15,130 6,120 4,640 4,380
Extended family 15,790 1,040 410 410 230
Under 15 years
Nuclear family 104,690 2,650 1,100 1,550
Extended family 2,200 60 25 35
15-24 years
Nuclear family 74,250 1,540 400 710 450
Extended family 2,360 230 20 150 60
25-44 years
Nuclear family 150,700 5,610 1,530 1,990 2,100
Extended family 4,080 250 50 100 90
45-64 years
Nuclear family 134,040 4,010 3,010 750 260
Extended family 4,220 310 210 90 20
65 years and over
Nuclear family 43,470 1,320 1,180 90 40
Extended family 2,950 190 110 60 30
 
All ages
Nuclear family 95% 92% 93% 90% 93%
Extended family 3% 6% 6% 8% 5%
Under 15 years
Nuclear family 98% 98% 98% 97%
Extended family 2% 2% 2% 2%
15-24 years
Nuclear family 96% 85% 95% 81% 82%
Extended family 3% 12% 5% 17% 11%
25-44 years
Nuclear family 96% 94% 96% 93% 94%
Extended family 3% 4% 3% 5% 4%
45-64 years
Nuclear family 95% 92% 93% 88% 94%
Extended family 3% 7% 7% 11% 6%
65 years and over
Nuclear family 89% 85% 89% 56% 62%
Extended family 6% 12% 8% 38% 38%

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 fifty families in Québec is a recent immigrant family

In Québec in 2001, there were 11,200 recent immigrants who arrived in Canada between 1986 and 2001. A large majority of these immigrants—9,500 or 85%—were members of a nuclear family. In other words, they were husbands, wives, common-law partners, lone parents, or children. Almost all these recent immigrants lived in 3,800 recent immigrant families, that is families in which either or both spouses or the lone parent are recent immigrants. Only 2% of families in Québec is a recent immigrant family. 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 11% are lone-parent families. Among Canadian-born families, 16% are single-parent families and 84% consist of married or common-law couples.

Table C-3: Recent immigrant and Canadian-born families—family structure, by age of older spouse or lone parent, Québec 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 148,840 84% 3,430 89%
Lone-parent families 28,890 16% 420 11%
Total number of families 177,730 100% 3,850 100%
25-44 years
Couples with or without children 57,640 82% 2,460 90%
Lone-parent families 12,900 18% 260 10%
Total number of families 70,540 100% 2,720 100%
45-64 years
Couples with or without children 64,230 85% 790 84%
Lone-parent families 11,630 15% 160 17%
Total number of families 75,860 100% 940 100%
65 years and over
Couples with or without children 24,030 86% 140 100%
Lone-parent families 3,760 14% 0 0%
Total number of families 27,790 100% 140 100%

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

When families are grouped by the age of the oldest member, lone-parent families are more common among the Canadian-born than among recent immigrants for all age groups except in families where the oldest member is 45 to 64 years of age. In the 25-44 year age group, almost 20% of Canadian-born families are lone-parent families, compared to 10% of recent immigrant families.

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. More than 70% of recent immigrant families have at least one child of any age living at home. In comparison, just over 60% of Canadian-born families have children at home.

This difference occurs mainly among older families, when age of family is defined as the age of the older spouse or lone parent. In families where the older spouse or lone parent is 25 to 44 years of age, recent immigrant families in Québec are slightly less likely than Canadian-born families to have children at home—73% compared to 76%, respectively. However, in families where the older spouse or lone parent is 45 to 64 years of age, 76% of recent immigrant families and 63% of Canadian-born families have children in the home. In families where the older spouse or lone parent is 65 years of age or over, 30% of recent immigrant families have children in the home, compared to just 24% of Canadian-born families.

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

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 more likely to have three or more children in the home than Canadian-born families with children and less likely to have a single child. Eighteen percent of recent immigrant families with children have three or more children, compared to 12% 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, Québec Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born families Recent immigrant families
All ages (including 15-24 years)
One child 53,150 49% 1,160 42%
Two children 42,820 39% 1,110 40%
Three or more children 13,180 12% 500 18%
25-44 years
One child 21,200 39% 800 40%
Two children 24,430 45% 810 40%
Three or more children 8,110 15% 390 20%
45-64 years
One child 25,240 53% 320 44%
Two children 17,410 37% 280 39%
Three or more children 4,950 10% 120 17%
65 years and over
One child 5,810 87% 20 50%
Two children 750 11% 20 50%
Three or more children 120 2% 0 0%

In forty percent of recent immigrant families, one spouse was born in Canada

Forty-four percent of Québec’s 3,800 recent immigrant families consist of a recent immigrant husband married to or living common-law with a recent immigrant wife, with or without children. An additional 5% of families consist of a recent immigrant spouse and a spouse who immigrated earlier, before 1986. Forty percent of recent immigrant families in the Québec CMA consist of a recent immigrant paired with a Canadian-born spouse. In Canada as a whole, 15% of recent immigrant families consist of a recent immigrant with a Canadian-born spouse.

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

Of the families of immigrants who landed before 1986, almost 70% consist of an immigrant paired with a Canadian-born spouse (not shown in Figure C-3). This proportion is significantly higher than for recent immigrant families and well above the Canadian average.

When recent immigrants enter into conjugal unions, they are very likely to do so as a legally married couple. In Québec, 12% of recent immigrant couples live common-law compared to 34% of Canadian-born couples. Common-law relationships are more prevalent in Québec than elsewhere in Canada for both Canadian-born and recent immigrant couples.

Table C-5: Recent immigrant and Canadian-born families—couples in common-law relationships, by age of older spouse, Québec Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born families Recent immigrant families
All ages 50,880 34% 210 12%
15-24 years 2,700 91% 0 0%
25-44 years 32,310 56% 180 15%
45-64 years 14,430 22% 30 6%
65 years and over 1,450 6% 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 fifty-five households is a recent immigrant household

In 2001, there were 3,800 recent immigrant households—households in which at least one member 15 years of age and older was a recent immigrant. These made up 2% of the total number of households in Québec.

Forty percent of recent immigrant households (2,320 households) have at least one member who immigrated after 1995. For almost 60% of these households, all members are very recent immigrants. The other 950 households consist of very recent immigrants living together with other persons. In 74% of these households, the other persons are immigrants who landed before 1996, in 24% they are persons born in Canada, and in 2% of these households they are both immigrants who landed before 1996 and persons born in Canada.

Table C-6: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households, Québec Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Number of
households
Share of
all households
Canadian-born 282,440 96%
Earlier immigrants 6,750 2%
Recent immigrants 5,390 2%
 1986-1995 immigrants 3,070 1%
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 950 0%
 1996-2001 immigrants only 1,370 0%
All households 295,110 100%

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.

Almost all households in the Québec CMA are comprised of only Canadian-born persons. Households that include one or more earlier immigrants but no recent immigrants account for 2% of households.

Recent immigrant households more likely to be family households

A recent immigrant household is much more likely than a Canadian-born household to consist of one or more families. More than four in five recent immigrant households are family households, compared to less than two out of three Canadian-born households.

One-third of Canadian-born households are non-family households and most of these consist of a person living alone. Among more recent immigrant households, persons living alone are much 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 are more likely to consist of just a nuclear family than Canadian-born households.

Table C-7: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households—household structure, Québec 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 176,650 169,380 6,500 780 92,820 12,980
Earlier immigrants 4,920 4,630 260 40 1,570 250
Recent immigrants 4,220 3,860 320 40 850 330
 1986-1995 immigrants 2,410 2,180 220 20 470 190
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 830 750 70 10 0 100
 1996-2001 immigrants only 950 910 30 10 380 40
All households 186,070 178,130 7,090 860 95,420 13,640
 
Canadian-born 63% 60% 2% 0% 33% 5%
Earlier immigrants 73% 69% 4% 1% 23% 4%
Recent immigrants 78% 72% 6% 1% 16% 6%
 1986-1995 immigrants 79% 71% 7% 1% 15% 6%
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 87% 78% 7% 1% 0% 11%
 1996-2001 immigrants only 69% 66% 2% 1% 27% 3%
All households 63% 60% 2% 0% 32% 5%

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.

A modest 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 less frequently among the Canadian-born.

Although recent immigrant households are slightly more likely than Canadian-born households to consist of two or more families, there are very few occurrences overall of multiple family households in the Québec CMA. This is unique to Québec. In Canada, multiple families make up 7% of all recent immigrant households. These families may be related to each other, as for example a married couple living with the family of one of their children.

Recent immigrant households tend to be large

Recent immigrant households are more likely to be larger in size than Canadian-born and earlier immigrant households. One in three recent immigrant households has four or more members, compared to one in five Canadian-born households.

Most of the larger recent immigrant households have four or five members. Only 3% of recent immigrant households have six or more members. The share among Canadian-born households is even smaller, only 1%.

Table C-8: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households—household size, Québec 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 231,830 48,030 2,590 282,450
Earlier immigrants 5,230 1,360 160 6,750
Recent immigrants 3,590 1,620 180 5,390
 1986-1995 immigrants 1,980 1,000 100 3,070
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 710 190 50 950
 1996-2001 immigrants only 910 430 50 1,380
All households 241,120 51,050 2,940 295,110
  Number of persons in household Estimated
average size
Households 1 to 3 4 or 5 6 or more
Canadian-born 82% 17% 1% 2.3
Earlier immigrants 78% 20% 2% 2.6
Recent immigrants 67% 30% 3% 3.0
 1986-1995 immigrants 64% 32% 3% 3.0
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 75% 20% 5% 3.0
 1996-2001 immigrants only 66% 31% 3% 2.9
All households 82% 17% 1% 2.3

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.

More care of children, less care of elders

The proportion of recent immigrants 15 years of age or over reporting time spent on unpaid care of children is somewhat higher than the proportion of Canadian-born persons in the same category. On the other hand, a smaller share of recent immigrants report spending time on a regular basis looking after elder persons in comparison to the Canadian-born.

These numbers reflect differences in family and household structure. Families with children are more numerous among recent immigrants.

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, Québec Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage)
  Care of
  Children Elders
Women
Canadian-born 109,690 32% 56,130 17%
Immigrants 3,540 37% 1,270 13%
 Immigrated before 1986 1,370 35% 700 18%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 1,150 39% 320 11%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 1,030 37% 250 9%
Men
Canadian-born 86,880 28% 36,410 12%
Immigrants 3,310 33% 970 10%
 Immigrated before 1986 1,450 31% 540 12%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 950 33% 240 8%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 910 36% 200 8%
Total
Canadian-born 196,570 30% 92,530 14%
Immigrants 6,840 35% 2,240 11%
 Immigrated before 1986 2,810 33% 1,240 14%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 2,100 36% 560 9%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 1,940 37% 450 8%
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