Recent Immigrants in Metropolitan Areas: Calgary—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 it is most notable among people aged 65 and over. Among Canadian-born seniors in Calgary, seven in ten live with relatives, while three in ten live alone. By comparison, nine out of ten very recent immigrants aged 65 and over live with relatives, while only 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, Calgary 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 65,180 16,120 12,360 2,480 1,280
Living with non-relatives only 50,700 7,440 3,700 2,020 1,730
Living with relatives 621,220 173,640 89,310 51,020 33,320
15-24 years
Living alone 3,830 390 120 160 110
Living with non-relatives only 16,050 1,080 330 440 320
Living with relatives 96,310 16,320 2,550 8,700 5,070
25-44 years
Living alone 28,470 4,420 2,100 1,320 990
Living with non-relatives only 26,440 4,340 1,840 1,270 1,240
Living with relatives 198,000 64,340 25,650 23,940 14,780
45-64 years
Living alone 18,540 5,000 4,310 600 100
Living with non-relatives only 6,030 1,470 1,160 230 90
Living with relatives 119,090 58,910 43,010 11,050 4,860
65 years and over
Living alone 14,350 6,320 5,840 400 90
Living with non-relatives only 1,090 500 390 80 20
Living with relatives 34,420 22,930 18,100 3,840 1,000
 
All ages (including 0-14 years)
Living alone 9% 8% 12% 4% 4%
Living with non-relatives only 7% 4% 4% 4% 5%
Living with relatives 84% 88% 85% 92% 92%
15-24 years
Living alone 3% 2% 4% 2% 2%
Living with non-relatives only 14% 6% 11% 5% 6%
Living with relatives 83% 92% 85% 94% 92%
25-44 years
Living alone 11% 6% 7% 5% 6%
Living with non-relatives only 10% 6% 6% 5% 7%
Living with relatives 78% 88% 87% 90% 87%
45-64 years
Living alone 13% 8% 9% 5% 2%
Living with non-relatives only 4% 2% 2% 2% 2%
Living with relatives 83% 90% 89% 93% 96%
65 years and over
Living alone 29% 21% 24% 9% 8%
Living with non-relatives only 2% 2% 2% 2% 1%
Living with relatives 69% 77% 74% 89% 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. But unlike the Canadian-born population, recent immigrants are more likely 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 very recent immigrants in that kind of arrangement is twice as large: one in eight.

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

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. Three in ten 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, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born Immigrants Immigrated before 1986 Immigrated 1986-1995 Immigrated 1996-2001
All ages
Nuclear family 571,840 147,170 77,390 40,840 28,950
Extended family 38,860 23,740 10,330 9,470 3,940
Under 15 years
Nuclear family 162,300 10,120 3,140 6,980
Extended family 10,840 1,000 350 650
15-24 years
Nuclear family 86,680 13,410 2,140 7,100 4,180
Extended family 6,900 2,540 350 1,450 740
25-44 years
Nuclear family 182,500 54,370 22,100 19,260 13,020
Extended family 11,070 8,910 3,090 4,310 1,510
45-64 years
Nuclear family 110,210 51,510 38,440 8,990 4,090
Extended family 7,160 6,840 4,170 1,950 740
65 years and over
Nuclear family 30,160 17,770 14,740 2,360 680
Extended family 2,900 4,460 2,710 1,420 310
 
All ages
Nuclear family 92% 85% 87% 80% 87%
Extended family 6% 14% 12% 19% 12%
Under 15 years
Nuclear family 94% 91% 90% 91%
Extended family 6% 9% 10% 9%
15-24 years
Nuclear family 90% 82% 84% 81% 83%
Extended family 7% 16% 14% 17% 15%
25-44 years
Nuclear family 92% 84% 86% 80% 88%
Extended family 6% 14% 12% 18% 10%
45-64 years
Nuclear family 93% 87% 89% 81% 84%
Extended family 6% 12% 10% 18% 15%
65 years and over
Nuclear family 88% 77% 81% 62% 68%
Extended family 8% 19% 15% 37% 31%

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 seven families is a recent immigrant family

In Calgary in 2001, there were 91,900 recent immigrants who had landed in Canada between 1986 and 2001. A large majority of these immigrants—79,500 or 86%—were members of a nuclear family. In other words, they were husbands, wives, common-law partners, lone parents or children. One in seven families in Calgary 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 9% are lone-parent families. Among Canadian-born families, 16% are lone-parent families, while 84% are married or common-law couples.

When families are grouped by the age of the oldest member, families of seniors are seen to have a composition different from the general pattern. Lone-parent families are more common among recent immigrant families and less common among the families of Canadian-born seniors.

Table C-3: Recent immigrant and Canadian-born families—family structure, by age of older spouse or lone parent, Calgary 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 140,140 85% 31,340 91%
Lone-parent families 25,660 15% 3,080 9%
Total number of families 165,800 100% 34,420 100%
25-44 years
Couples with or without children 68,920 83% 18,990 93%
Lone-parent families 13,980 17% 1,530 7%
Total number of families 82,900 100% 20,510 100%
45-64 years
Couples with or without children 51,890 85% 9,640 90%
Lone-parent families 8,820 15% 1,080 10%
Total number of families 60,710 100% 10,720 100%
65 years and over
Couples with or without children 15,840 90% 2,310 85%
Lone-parent families 1,840 10% 420 15%
Total number of families 17,680 100% 2,730 100%

Note: For definitions of family and other 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

One difference between recent immigrant and Canadian-born families is in the proportion of families with children at home. More than seven in ten recent immigrant families have at least one child of any age living at home. By comparison, just over six in ten Canadian-born families have children at home.

This difference occurs mainly among families whose oldest member is 45 years of age or older. Among young families, the proportion of those with children living at home is similar for recent immigrant and Canadian-born families. However, nearly two in five recent immigrant families of seniors have children in the home, compared to only one in five Canadian-born families.

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.

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

Figure C-2

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 19% of recent immigrant families with children have three or more children, compared to 17% 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, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born families Recent immigrant families
All ages (including 15-24 years)
One child 42,360 41% 9,640 38%
Two children 43,800 42% 10,670 43%
Three or more children 17,410 17% 4,780 19%
25-44 years
One child 20,510 34% 5,930 38%
Two children 27,660 46% 6,930 44%
Three or more children 11,580 19% 2,810 18%
45-64 years
One child 17,190 45% 2,890 35%
Two children 15,380 40% 3,480 42%
Three or more children 5,730 15% 1,850 23%
65 years and over
One child 3,170 88% 700 67%
Two children 410 11% 240 23%
Three or more children 50 1% 110 11%

The share of young families with three or more children is the same for Canadian-born families and recent immigrant families, one in five. However, nearly one-quarter of recent immigrant families 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, 11% have three or more children living at home, compared to only 1% of Canadian-born families.

Majority of recent immigrants married to other recent immigrants

The majority of the 34,400 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 Calgary than in Canada, where one in seven recent immigrants is paired with a Canadian-born spouse.

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

Figure C-3

Of the families of immigrants who landed before 1986, more than four in ten consist of an immigrant paired with a Canadian-born spouse (not shown in 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, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born families Recent immigrant families
All ages 23,050 16% 370 2%
15-24 years 2,500 71% 40 25%
25-44 years 15,080 22% 260 2%
45-64 years 4,980 10% 70 1%
65 years and over 490 3% 10 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 nine households is a recent immigrant household

In 2001, there were 39,700 recent immigrant households—households in which at least one member 15 years of age or older was a recent immigrant. These made up 11% of the total number of households in Calgary.

Nearly two out of five recent immigrant households, or 16,090 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 8,420 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 and in 7% of these households they are both Canadian-born and immigrants who landed prior to 1996.

Seven out of ten households in Calgary comprise only Canadian-born persons. The remaining 19% of all households include one or more earlier immigrants but no recent immigrants.

Table C-6: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Number of
households
Share of
all households
Canadian-born 248,580 70%
Earlier immigrants 66,330 19%
Recent immigrants 39,700 11%
 1986-1995 immigrants 23,610 6.6%
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 8,420 2.4%
 1996-2001 immigrants only 7,670 2.2%
All households 356,380 100%

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 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 more 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 are not unknown among the Canadian-born, but they occur much less frequently.

Table C-7: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households—household structure, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
    Family households Non-family households
  All family house-
holds
Nuclear families Expanded families Multiple families Single person Multiple persons
Canadian-born 162,560 147,510 13,210 1,840 65,170 20,840
Earlier immigrants 50,830 45,210 4,560 1,070 12,350 3,160
Recent immigrants 33,550 25,220 5,030 3,300 3,760 2,390
 1986-1995 immigrants 19,830 15,370 3,000 1,470 2,480 1,310
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 7,660 4,290 1,660 1,710 0 760
 1996-2001 immigrants only 6,070 5,590 360 130 1,290 310
All households 248,040 218,950 22,850 6,240 81,800 26,530
 
Canadian-born 65% 59% 5% 1% 26% 8%
Earlier immigrants 77% 68% 7% 2% 19% 5%
Recent immigrants 85% 64% 13% 8% 9% 6%
 1986-1995 immigrants 84% 65% 13% 6% 10% 6%
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 91% 51% 20% 20% 0% 9%
 1996-2001 immigrants only 79% 73% 5% 2% 17% 4%
All households 70% 61% 6% 2% 23% 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.

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 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, Calgary 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 189,050 54,390 5,150 248,580
Earlier immigrants 46,820 17,330 2,170 66,320
Recent immigrants 20,800 14,390 4,520 39,710
 1986-1995 immigrants 12,060 9,230 2,340 23,620
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 4,170 2,530 1,710 8,410
 1996-2001 immigrants only 4,580 2,640 460 7,680
All households 257,970 86,510 11,910 356,380
  Number of persons in household Estimated average size
  1 to 3 4 or 5 6 or more
Canadian-born 76% 22% 2% 2.5
Earlier immigrants 71% 26% 3% 2.8
Recent immigrants 52% 36% 11% 3.6
 1986-1995 immigrants 51% 39% 10% 3.6
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 50% 30% 20% 4.0
 1996-2001 immigrants only 60% 34% 6% 3.2
All households 72% 24% 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 the most likely of all households to be large, with one in five 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 or over reporting time spent on unpaid care of children is significantly higher than the proportion of Canadian-born persons in the same category. On the other hand, the proportion of recent immigrants spending time on a regular basis to look after elder persons, while also higher, is more comparable to the proportion of Canadian-born persons caring regularly for elder persons.

The difference in time spent on care of children may reflect the fact that recent immigrants are more likely than the Canadian-born to have children living at home and, if so, more likely to have two or more children.

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, Calgary Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage)
  Care of
  Children Elders
Women
Canadian-born 113,470 31% 47,460 13%
Immigrants 43,430 43% 18,170 18%
 Immigrated before 1986 21,340 40% 10,930 21%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 14,110 48% 4,900 17%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 7,990 42% 2,350 12%
Men
Canadian-born 93,010 25% 33,130 9%
Immigrants 34,580 36% 13,110 14%
 Immigrated before 1986 18,260 35% 8,150 16%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 10,290 39% 3,390 13%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 6,030 34% 1,570 9%
Total
Canadian-born 206,480 28% 80,590 11%
Immigrants 78,010 40% 31,280 16%
 Immigrated before 1986 39,600 38% 19,080 18%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 24,400 44% 8,290 15%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 14,020 39% 3,910 11%
Date Modified: