Recent Immigrants in Metropolitan Areas: Montreal—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 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 among people 45 years of age and over, and it is most notable among people aged 65 and over. Among Canadian-born seniors in Montreal, six in ten live with relatives, while over one-third live alone. By comparison, eight out of ten very recent immigrants aged 65 years and over live with relatives, while only one in seven 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, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born Immi-
grants
Immigrated before 1986 Immigrated 1986-1995 Immigrated 1996-2001
All ages (including 0-14 years)
Living alone 359,320 71,760 47,970 13,460 10,340
Living with non-relatives only 107,820 16,010 5,660 4,860 5,490
Living with relatives 2,248,750 532,960 273,850 161,130 97,980
15-24 years
Living alone 19,620 2,630 460 1,130 1,040
Living with non-relatives only 27,490 2,390 440 940 1,020
Living with relatives 330,880 50,840 6,990 29,560 14,300
25-44 years
Living alone 116,460 21,950 6,640 7,320 7,990
Living with non-relatives only 48,650 9,010 1,910 3,050 4,060
Living with relatives 670,350 185,780 61,950 76,230 47,620
45-64 years
Living alone 118,240 21,890 17,480 3,480 930
Living with non-relatives only 22,190 3,180 2,240 670 290
Living with relatives 488,780 176,240 132,760 32,900 10,590
65 years and over
Living alone 105,000 25,290 23,390 1,530 370
Living with non-relatives only 7,620 1,300 1,090 150 70
Living with relatives 183,020 82,880 72,200 8,660 2,030
 
All ages (including 0-14 years)
Living alone 13% 12% 15% 7% 9%
Living with non-relatives only 4% 3% 2% 3% 5%
Living with relatives 83% 86% 84% 90% 86%
15-24 years
Living alone 5% 5% 6% 4% 6%
Living with non-relatives only 7% 4% 6% 3% 6%
Living with relatives 88% 91% 89% 93% 87%
25-44 years
Living alone 14% 10% 9% 8% 13%
Living with non-relatives only 6% 4% 3% 4% 7%
Living with relatives 80% 86% 88% 88% 80%
45-64 years
Living alone 19% 11% 11% 9% 8%
Living with non-relatives only 4% 2% 1% 2% 2%
Living with relatives 78% 88% 87% 89% 90%
65 years and over
Living alone 36% 23% 24% 15% 15%
Living with non-relatives only 3% 1% 1% 1% 3%
Living with relatives 62% 76% 75% 84% 82%

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 one in twenty is 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, Montreal 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. Four in ten of very recent immigrants 65 years of age 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. This suggests that many of these seniors are recent immigrant parents who live with the family of their child who had come to Canada previously.

Table C-2: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—living with relatives in nuclear or extended family, by age, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born Immigrants Immigrated before 1986 Immigrated 1986-1995 Immigrated 1996-2001
All ages
Nuclear family 2,100,710 456,630 236,020 134,940 85,680
Extended family 113,740 65,160 32,000 23,090 10,070
Under 15 years
Nuclear family 546,730 34,300 12,550 21,740
Extended family 28,330 2,830 1,205 1,635
15-24 years
Nuclear family 306,070 42,370 5,810 24,940 11,630
Extended family 18,970 6,770 990 3,830 1,970
25-44 years
Nuclear family 632,060 160,140 53,230 64,490 42,420
Extended family 28,780 21,670 7,530 10,140 4,010
45-64 years
Nuclear family 456,340 153,520 116,820 27,930 8,780
Extended family 23,890 20,170 13,930 4,600 1,650
65 years and over
Nuclear family 159,520 66,320 60,170 5,030 1,120
Extended family 13,790 13,730 9,580 3,340 820
 
All ages
Nuclear family 93% 86% 86% 84% 87%
Extended family 5% 12% 12% 14% 10%
Under 15 years
Nuclear family 95% 92% 91% 93%
Extended family 5% 8% 9% 7%
15-24 years
Nuclear family 93% 83% 83% 84% 81%
Extended family 6% 13% 14% 13% 14%
25-44 years
Nuclear family 94% 86% 86% 85% 89%
Extended family 4% 12% 12% 13% 8%
45-64 years
Nuclear family 93% 87% 88% 85% 83%
Extended family 5% 11% 10% 14% 16%
65 years and over
Nuclear family 87% 80% 83% 58% 55%
Extended family 8% 17% 13% 39% 40%

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 in Montreal is a recent immigrant family

In 2001, 293,800 recent immigrants who landed in Canada between 1986 and 2001 were living in Montreal. A large majority of these immigrants—243,900 or 83%—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 103,600 recent immigrant families, that is, families in which either or both spouses or the lone parent are recent immigrants. More than one in ten families in Montreal are recent immigrant families.

Most of the recent immigrant families consist of married or common-law couples, while 16% are lone-parent families. Among Canadian-born families, 18% are lone-parent families, and 82% 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, Montreal 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 536,240 82% 87,170 84%
Lone-parent families 118,000 18% 16,420 16%
Total number of families 654,240 100% 103,580 100%
25-44 years
Couples with or without children 225,950 79% 54,580 85%
Lone-parent families 59,430 21% 9,680 15%
Total number of families 285,370 100% 64,260 100%
45-64 years
Couples with or without children 213,700 84% 26,570 84%
Lone-parent families 42,100 16% 5,230 16%
Total number of families 255,800 100% 31,800 100%
65 years and over
Couples with or without children 85,300 87% 4,900 84%
Lone-parent families 12,740 13% 950 16%
Total number of families 98,030 100% 5,850 100%

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, families of seniors are seen to have a composition different from the general pattern. Lone-parent families are more common among recent immigrant families of seniors than among the families of Canadian-born seniors.

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, only six in ten Canadian-born families have children at home.

The difference varies by age of the oldest member of the family. Almost four in five families of persons aged 25 to 44 have one or more children in the home. The same share is found among families of recent immigrants in the 45-64 year age group, but among their Canadian-born counterparts the share is only six in ten. Among families of recent immigrant seniors, nearly one-half have children in the home, twice as large a share as for the Canadian-born.

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

Figure C-3

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 25% of recent immigrant families with children have three or more children, twice as large a share as for Canadian-born families. In Canada as a whole, the difference between immigrants and the Canadian-born in this regard is not as large.

The number of children varies by age of parent, with older families generally having fewer children. There is a large contrast among families of seniors. Among families of recent immigrant seniors with children in the home, three in ten have two children, and somewhat more than one in ten have three children. Among their Canadian-born counterparts, two children occur in just over one in ten cases, and only a very small proportion has three or more children living at home.

Table C-4: Recent immigrant and Canadian-born families—never-married children living at home, by age of older spouse or lone parent, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born families Recent immigrant families
All ages (including 15-24 years)
One child 194,080 48% 30,930 38%
Two children 160,310 39% 30,050 37%
Three or more children 51,820 13% 19,960 25%
25-44 years
One child 85,410 39% 19,770 39%
Two children 100,500 45% 19,240 38%
Three or more children 35,770 16% 12,050 24%
45-64 years
One child 84,490 54% 8,890 34%
Two children 56,120 36% 9,810 37%
Three or more children 15,500 10% 7,540 29%
65 years and over
One child 19,410 87% 1,580 58%
Two children 2,650 12% 810 30%
Three or more children 350 2% 320 12%

Majority of recent immigrants married to other recent immigrants

The majority of Montreal’s 103,600 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 12% of these families have a recent immigrant spouse and a spouse who immigrated earlier, before 1986. A total of 16% of recent immigrant families in Montreal have a recent immigrant paired with a Canadian-born spouse.

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

Figure C-3

Of the families of immigrants who landed before 1986, 31% consist of an immigrant paired with a Canadian-born spouse (not shown in Figure C-3). This proportion is roughly twice that of recent immigrant families.

When recent immigrants enter into conjugal unions, they are very likely to do so as a legally married couple. Just 5% of recent immigrant couples live common-law, compared to 35% of Canadian-born couples. Even among younger couples, where common-law is the clear preference of the Canadian-born, relatively few recent immigrant couples have chosen this option. Common-law relations are found more frequently in Montreal than in Canada as a whole.

Table C-5: Recent immigrant and Canadian-born families—couples in common-law relationships, by age of older spouse, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born families Recent immigrant families
All ages 185,150 35% 2,940 5%
15-24 years 10,490 93% 130 33%
25-44 years 115,240 51% 2,320 7%
45-64 years 52,520 25% 440 2%
65 years and over 6,910 8% 50 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 139,200 recent immigrant households in Montreal—households in which at least one member 15 years of age or older was a recent immigrant. These made up 11% of all households in Montreal.

Two out of five recent immigrant households have at least one member who immigrated after 1995. For more than half of these households, all members are very recent immigrants. In the remaining 24,000 households, very recent immigrants live together with other persons. In 64% of these households, the other persons are immigrants who landed before 1996, in 31% they are Canadian-born, and in 5% of the households they are both Canadian-born and other immigrants.

Table C-6: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Number of
households
Share of
all households
Canadian-born 1,063,240 75%
Earlier immigrants 202,870 14%
Recent immigrants 139,180 10%
 1986-1995 immigrants 82,770 5.8%
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 23,970 1.7%
 1996-2001 immigrants only 32,460 2.3%
All households 1,417,370 100%

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.

Three out of four households in Montreal are comprised only of Canadian-born persons. Households that include one or more earlier immigrants but no recent immigrants account for 14% of households.

Recent immigrant households more likely to be family households

A recent immigrant household is more likely than a Canadian-born household to consist of one or more families. Close to 80% of recent immigrant households are family households, compared to just 61% of Canadian-born households.

Almost 40% of Canadian-born households are a non-family households and most of these consist of a person living alone. Among recent immigrant households, with the exception of households with only very recent immigrants, 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 consisting exclusively of very recent immigrants, are much 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, Montreal 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 648,470 610,640 33,630 4,210 359,230 55,540
Earlier immigrants 148,600 134,310 12,050 2,240 47,960 6,310
Recent immigrants 106,970 89,880 13,070 4,020 23,800 8,410
 1986-1995 immigrants 65,280 55,600 7,830 1,860 13,450 4,030
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 21,510 15,520 4,050 1,950 0 2,470
 1996-2001 immigrants only 20,200 18,780 1,210 220 10,340 1,920
All households 908,080 838,660 58,940 10,480 437,500 71,780
 
Canadian-born 61% 57% 3% 0% 34% 5%
Earlier immigrants 73% 66% 6% 1% 24% 3%
Recent immigrants 77% 65% 9% 3% 17% 6%
 1986-1995 immigrants 79% 67% 9% 2% 16% 5%
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 90% 65% 17% 8% 0% 10%
 1996-2001 immigrants only 62% 58% 4% 1% 32% 6%
All households 64% 59% 4% 1% 31% 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 Canadians. 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. Six of every ten recent immigrant households have one to three members, compared to eight out of ten 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, Montreal 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 870,560 180,970 11,720 1,063,240
Earlier immigrants 150,010 46,920 5,940 202,870
Recent immigrants 84,490 44,460 10,230 139,170
 1986-1995 immigrants 46,650 29,710 6,420 82,780
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 14,180 7,230 2,560 23,970
 1996-2001 immigrants only 23,680 7,520 1,260 32,460
All households 1,115,470 273,830 28,070 1,417,360
  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 74% 23% 3% 2.7
Recent immigrants 61% 32% 7% 3.2
 1986-1995 immigrants 56% 36% 8% 3.3
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 59% 30% 11% 3.5
 1996-2001 immigrants only 73% 23% 4% 2.7
All households 79% 19% 2% 2.4

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 Canadians are most likely of all households to be very large, with 11% of such households having six or more members. The share of equally large households among Canadian-born households is only 1%.

More care of children

The proportion of recent immigrants 15 years of age or over reporting time spent on unpaid care of children is higher than the proportion of Canadian-born persons. On the other hand, the share of very recent immigrants spending time on a regular basis to look after elder persons is relatively low.

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, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage)
  Care of
  Children Elders
Women
Canadian-born 438,330 31% 222,510 16%
Immigrants 131,820 42% 50,880 16%
 Immigrated before 1986 62,660 37% 32,860 20%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 45,400 49% 12,660 14%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 23,760 41% 5,370 9%
Men
Canadian-born 338,930 26% 144,270 11%
Immigrants 104,710 34% 38,730 13%
 Immigrated before 1986 52,380 33% 24,780 15%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 34,660 39% 9,760 11%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 17,680 31% 4,200 7%
Total
Canadian-born 777,260 29% 366,780 13%
Immigrants 236,530 38% 89,610 14%
 Immigrated before 1986 115,040 35% 57,630 18%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 80,060 45% 22,420 12%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 41,440 36% 9,560 8%

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

Date Modified: