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

Part C: Families and Households

Family and household affiliation of individuals

Older recent immigrants more likely to be living 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 Toronto, two-thirds live with relatives, while nearly one-third live alone. By comparison, nine out of ten very recent immigrants aged 65 and over live with relatives, while only 6% live 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, Toronto 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 209,120 146,400 104,140 29,230 13,030
Living with non-relatives only 99,760 58,520 21,960 18,980 17,580
Living with relatives 2,242,500 1,825,510 827,180 614,090 384,240
15-24 years
Living alone 6,700 2,890 470 1,550 870
Living with non-relatives only 19,870 6,350 860 2,970 2,530
Living with relatives 373,730 184,070 16,800 106,440 60,830
25-44 years
Living alone 85,950 41,240 15,600 15,980 9,660
Living with non-relatives only 57,520 33,240 8,610 11,710 12,930
Living with relatives 629,990 670,070 214,660 284,170 171,230
45-64 years
Living alone 56,820 44,710 35,910 7,150 1,650
Living with non-relatives only 15,940 13,230 8,620 3,320 1,300
Living with relatives 332,640 596,540 403,630 137,870 55,080
65 years and over
Living alone 59,640 57,580 52,170 4,560 850
Living with non-relatives only 3,820 4,950 3,890 770 300
Living with relatives 124,670 249,590 192,080 43,400 14,080
 
All ages (including 0-14 years)
Living alone 8% 7% 11% 4% 3%
Living with non-relatives only 4% 3% 2% 3% 4%
Living with relatives 88% 90% 87% 93% 93%
15-24 years
Living alone 2% 1% 3% 1% 1%
Living with non-relatives only 5% 3% 5% 3% 4%
Living with relatives 93% 95% 93% 96% 95%
25-44 years
Living alone 11% 6% 7% 5% 5%
Living with non-relatives only 7% 4% 4% 4% 7%
Living with relatives 81% 90% 90% 91% 88%
45-64 years
Living alone 14% 7% 8% 5% 3%
Living with non-relatives only 4% 2% 2% 2% 2%
Living with relatives 82% 91% 90% 93% 95%
65 years and over
Living alone 32% 18% 21% 9% 6%
Living with non-relatives only 2% 2% 2% 2% 2%
Living with relatives 66% 80% 77% 89% 92%

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 9% are part of an extended family. The proportion of very recent immigrants in that kind of arrangement is twice as large.

Figure C-1: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—percentage living with relatives in an extended family, Toronto 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. More than four in ten of very recent immigrants aged 65 and over live in extended families, compared to 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, Toronto Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born Immigrants Immigrated before 1986 Immigrated 1986-1995 Immigrated 1996-2001
All ages
Nuclear family 2,006,820 1,502,580 692,710 486,440 323,420
Extended family 204,790 292,860 119,340 117,530 55,990
Under 15 years
Nuclear family 700,680 110,780 - 36,200 74,570
Extended family 79,460 14,260 - 5,925 8,340
15-24 years
Nuclear family 330,790 150,000 13,850 87,130 49,040
Extended family 38,670 30,620 2,660 17,370 10,590
25-44 years
Nuclear family 567,110 552,180 179,710 225,100 147,370
Extended family 49,970 106,250 31,290 53,670 21,300
45-64 years
Nuclear family 302,070 502,590 346,860 111,000 44,740
Extended family 24,220 86,360 51,480 25,130 9,750
65 years and over
Nuclear family 106,190 187,050 152,320 27,030 7,710
Extended family 12,480 55,380 33,920 15,430 6,030
 
All ages
Nuclear family 90% 82% 84% 79% 84%
Extended family 9% 16% 14% 19% 15%
Under 15 years
Nuclear family 90% 88% - 86% 90%
Extended family 10% 11% - 14% 10%
15-24 years
Nuclear family 89% 81% 82% 82% 81%
Extended family 10% 17% 16% 16% 17%
25-44 years
Nuclear family 90% 82% 84% 79% 86%
Extended family 8% 16% 15% 19% 12%
45-64 years
Nuclear family 91% 84% 86% 81% 81%
Extended family 7% 14% 13% 18% 18%
65 years and over
Nuclear family 85% 75% 79% 62% 55%
Extended family 10% 22% 18% 36% 43%

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 three families is a recent immigrant family

In Toronto in 2001, there were 1,079,000 immigrants who landed in Canada between 1986 and 2001. A large majority of these recent immigrants—935,000 or 87%—were members of a nuclear family. In other words, they were husbands, wives, common-law partners, lone parents or children. Nearly one in three families in Toronto 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 only 13% are lone-parent families. Among Canadian-born families, 17% are lone-parent families, while 83% are married or common-law couples.

Table C-3: Recent immigrant and Canadian-born families—family structure, by age of older spouse or lone parent, Toronto 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 355,450 83% 326,140 87%
Lone-parent families 72,610 17% 50,280 13%
Total number of families 428,060 100% 376,420 100%
25-44 years
Couples with or without children 173,250 83% 191,060 88%
Lone-parent families 35,180 17% 27,290 12%
Total number of families 208,430 100% 218,350 100%
45-64 years
Couples with or without children 127,480 83% 107,650 87%
Lone-parent families 26,330 17% 16,800 14%
Total number of families 153,810 100% 124,440 100%
65 years and over
Couples with or without children 50,590 85% 25,180 84%
Lone-parent families 8,640 15% 4,790 16%
Total number of families 59,230 100% 29,970 100%

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. More than three in four recent immigrant families have at least one child of any age living at home. By comparison, less than two in three Canadian-born families have children at home.

The difference is greater the older the oldest member of the family. Among young families, 79% of recent immigrant families have children at home, compared to 73% of Canadian-born families. However, 41% of recent immigrant families of seniors have children in the home, compared to 26% of Canadian-born families of seniors.

Figure C-2: Recent immigrant and Canadian-born families—never-married children living at home, by age of older spouse or lone parent, Toronto 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 somewhat more likely to have more than two children in the home than Canadian-born families with children. As many as 20% of recent immigrant families with children have three or more children, compared to 17% of Canadian-born families.

The share of young families with children that have three or more children is 18% for recent immigrant families and 19% for Canadian-born families. Nearly 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 16% of Canadian-born families. Among the oldest recent immigrant families with children, 11% 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, Toronto Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born families Recent immigrant families
All ages (including 15-24 years)
One child 113,960 41% 113,410 39%
Two children 117,190 42% 121,310 42%
Three or more children 47,150 17% 57,310 20%
25-44 years
One child 53,280 35% 67,570 39%
Two children 69,930 46% 74,120 43%
Three or more children 29,010 19% 31,690 18%
45-64 years
One child 44,740 42% 36,020 35%
Two children 44,640 42% 43,940 42%
Three or more children 17,640 16% 24,270 23%
65 years and over
One child 13,270 86% 8,210 67%
Two children 1,800 12% 2,780 23%
Three or more children 340 2% 1,300 11%

In two-thirds of recent immigrant families, both spouses are recent immigrants

Two in three 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 13% of families have a recently immigrated spouse and a spouse who immigrated before 1986. Only 8% of recent immigrant families in Toronto have a recent immigrant paired with a Canadian-born spouse. This type of family structure is twice as common in Canada as a whole. Of the families of immigrants who landed before 1986, 26% 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, Toronto 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 3% of recent immigrant couples live common-law, compared to 14% 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, Toronto Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born families Recent immigrant families
All ages 50,410 14% 6,980 3%
15-24 years 3,170 76% 330 25%
25-44 years 32,020 18% 4,890 4%
45-64 years 13,480 11% 1,620 2%
65 years and over 1,740 3% 150 1%

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 four households is a recent immigrant household

In 2001, there were 429,000 recent immigrant households—households in which at least one member 15 years or older was a recent immigrant. These made up 26% of the total number of households in Toronto.

Two out of five recent immigrant households have at least one member who immigrated after 1995. In about one-half of these households, all members are very recent immigrants. The other half consists of very recent immigrants living together with other persons. In 80% of these households, the other persons are immigrants who landed before 1996, in 14% they are Canadian-born, and in 7% they are both Canadian-born and immigrants who landed before 1996. In Canada as a whole, the proportion of very recent immigrants living with Canadian-born persons is much higher and the share of very recent immigrants living with other immigrants much lower.

Four out of ten households in Toronto consist of only Canadian-born persons. Households that include one or more earlier immigrants but no recent immigrants account for one-third of households.

Table C-6: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households, Toronto Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Number of
households
Share of
all households
Canadian-born 660,830 40%
Earlier immigrants 531,710 33%
Recent immigrants 429,000 26%
 1986-1995 immigrants 256,890 15.7%
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 83,190 5.1%
 1996-2001 immigrants only 88,930 5.4%
All households 1,634,760 100%

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.

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, 85%, are family households.

More than 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 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, 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, Toronto Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
    Family households Non-family households
Households All family house-
holds
Nuclear families Ex-
panded families
Multiple families Single person Multiple persons
Canadian-born 410,450 376,660 28,700 5,090 209,000 41,370
Earlier immigrants 409,220 351,860 42,440 14,920 104,120 18,370
Recent immigrants 365,380 270,520 58,550 36,320 42,260 21,390
 1986-1995 immigrants 215,950 166,680 32,980 16,290 29,230 11,740
 1996-2001 immigrants with
  others
76,650 37,410 20,850 18,390 0 6,540
 1996-2001 immigrants only 72,800 66,430 4,730 1,640 13,030 3,120
All households 1,192,450 1,005,790 130,210 56,450 359,590 82,710
 
Canadian-born 62% 57% 4% 1% 32% 6%
Earlier immigrants 77% 66% 8% 3% 20% 3%
Recent immigrants 85% 63% 14% 8% 10% 5%
 1986-1995 immigrants 84% 65% 13% 6% 11% 5%
 1996-2001 immigrants with
  others
92% 45% 25% 22% 0% 8%
 1996-2001 immigrants only 82% 75% 5% 2% 15% 4%
All households 73% 62% 8% 3% 22% 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.

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 than Canadian-born and earlier immigrant households to be large in size. One in 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.

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 nearly one in four of such households having six or more members. The share of equally large households among Canadian-born households is only 2%.

Table C-8: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households—household size, Toronto 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 508,150 139,910 12,760 660,820
Earlier immigrants 360,010 148,680 23,030 531,720
Recent immigrants 217,740 160,780 50,500 429,010
 1986-1995 immigrants 129,280 101,200 26,420 256,890
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 36,060 27,950 19,200 83,200
 1996-2001 immigrants only 52,410 31,650 4,880 88,930
All households 1,095,480 452,500 86,780 1,634,750
  Number of persons in household Estimated
average size
Households 1 to 3 4 or 5 6 or more
Canadian-born 77% 21% 2% 2.5
Earlier immigrants 68% 28% 4% 2.9
Recent immigrants 51% 37% 12% 3.6
 1986-1995 immigrants 50% 39% 10% 3.6
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 43% 34% 23% 4.2
 1996-2001 immigrants only 59% 36% 5% 3.3
All households 67% 28% 5% 2.9

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

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. On the other hand, the share of recent immigrants spending time on a regular basis to look after elder persons is comparable to the share of Canadian-born persons who spend time on a regular basis caring for seniors.

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, Toronto Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage)
  Care of
  Children Elders
Women
Canadian-born 340,370 26% 175,910 14%
Immigrants 448,300 42% 187,640 18%
 Immigrated before 1986 190,370 38% 102,260 20%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 165,360 48% 58,660 17%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 92,580 43% 26,730 13%
Men
Canadian-born 264,690 21% 122,140 10%
Immigrants 348,110 36% 139,670 14%
 Immigrated before 1986 153,140 34% 74,280 16%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 125,050 40% 44,610 14%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 69,930 35% 20,790 10%
Total
Canadian-born 605,060 24% 298,040 12%
Immigrants 796,410 39% 327,310 16%
 Immigrated before 1986 343,510 36% 176,530 18%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 290,400 44% 103,260 16%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 162,500 39% 47,520 11%
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