Recent Immigrants in Metropolitan Areas: Vancouver—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 Vancouver, nearly two-thirds live with relatives, while over one-third live alone. By comparison, nineteen out of twenty very recent immigrants aged 65 and over live with relatives, while only one in twenty 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—percentage living with relatives in an extended family, Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area, 2001
  Canadian-born Immigrants Immigrated before 1986 Immigrated 1986-1995 Immigrated 1996-2001
All ages (including 0-14 years)
Living alone 147,470 61,460 45,140 10,720 5,600
Living with non-relatives only 69,250 22,520 9,340 6,980 6,210
Living with relatives 981,060 653,560 266,940 229,170 157,440
15-24 years
Living alone 6,100 1,550 260 830 470
Living with non-relatives only 14,370 2,950 530 1,370 1,070
Living with relatives 158,260 72,580 6,280 39,810 26,480
25-44 years
Living alone 57,820 16,720 7,360 5,330 4,040
Living with non-relatives only 39,780 12,790 4,050 4,270 4,470
Living with relatives 272,730 229,740 70,290 93,970 65,480
45-64 years
Living alone 44,420 19,360 15,940 2,680 750
Living with non-relatives only 10,830 5,020 3,530 1,070 420
Living with relatives 185,960 214,020 127,500 58,650 27,880
65 years and over
Living alone 39,150 23,830 21,580 1,890 350
Living with non-relatives only 2,600 1,540 1,260 220 70
Living with relatives 70,550 89,470 62,880 20,560 6,040
 
All ages (including 0-14 years)
Living alone 12% 8% 14% 4% 3%
Living with non-relatives only 6% 3% 3% 3% 4%
Living with relatives 82% 89% 83% 93% 93%
15-24 years
Living alone 3% 2% 4% 2% 2%
Living with non-relatives only 8% 4% 7% 3% 4%
Living with relatives 89% 94% 89% 95% 95%
25-44 years
Living alone 16% 6% 9% 5% 5%
Living with non-relatives only 11% 5% 5% 4% 6%
Living with relatives 74% 89% 86% 91% 89%
45-64 years
Living alone 18% 8% 11% 4% 3%
Living with non-relatives only 4% 2% 2% 2% 1%
Living with relatives 77% 90% 87% 94% 96%
65 years and over
Living alone 35% 21% 25% 8% 5%
Living with non-relatives only 2% 1% 1% 1% 1%
Living with relatives 63% 78% 73% 91% 94%

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 relatives, 8% are part of an extended family. Among very recent immigrants that share is 12%.

Figure C-1: Immigrants by period of immigration and Canadian-born—living with relatives in an extended family, Vancouver 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. Nearly four in ten of very recent immigrants aged 65 and over live in extended families, compared to nearly 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, Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born Immigrants Immigrated before 1986 Immigrated 1986-1995 Immigrated 1996-2001
All ages
Nuclear family 884,120 545,610 224,970 184,460 136,170
Extended family 81,260 98,360 37,690 41,060 19,630
Under 15 years
Nuclear family 263,180 42,980 - 14,180 28,810
Extended family 29,700 4,690 - 1,965 2,715
15-24 years
Nuclear family 140,330 61,020 5,170 33,320 22,540
Extended family 15,120 9,800 940 5,430 3,430
25-44 years
Nuclear family 247,620 189,610 57,690 74,530 57,400
Extended family 18,980 36,480 11,370 17,900 7,220
45-64 years
Nuclear family 171,110 183,710 111,270 48,660 23,800
Extended family 11,520 28,270 14,880 9,400 4,000
65 years and over
Nuclear family 61,900 68,280 50,870 13,780 3,650
Extended family 5,920 19,140 10,490 6,360 2,280
 
All ages
Nuclear family 90% 83% 84% 80% 86%
Extended family 8% 15% 14% 18% 12%
Under 15 years
Nuclear family 90% 90% - 88% 91%
Extended family 10% 10% - 12% 9%
15-24 years
Nuclear family 89% 84% 82% 84% 85%
Extended family 10% 13% 15% 14% 13%
25-44 years
Nuclear family 91% 83% 82% 79% 88%
Extended family 7% 16% 16% 19% 11%
45-64 years
Nuclear family 92% 86% 87% 83% 85%
Extended family 6% 13% 12% 16% 14%
65 years and over
Nuclear family 88% 76% 81% 67% 60%
Extended family 8% 21% 17% 31% 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

Three in ten families are recent immigrant families

In Vancouver in 2001, there were 416,700 recent immigrants who landed in Canada between 1986 and 2001. A large majority of these immigrants—364,800 or 88%—were members of a nuclear family. In other words, they were husbands, wives, common-law partners, lone parents or children. Nearly three in ten families in Vancouver are recent immigrant families—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, 89%, consist of married or common-law couples, and only 11% are lone-parent families. Of Canadian-born families, 18% are headed by a single parent, while 82% consist of a married or common-law couple with or without children

Table C-3: Recent immigrant and Canadian-born families—family structure by age of older spouse or lone parent, Vancouver 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 186,550 82% 129,140 89%
Lone-parent families 40,880 18% 15,610 11%
Total number of families 227,430 100% 144,750 100%
25-44 years
Couples with or without children 80,380 79% 67,810 89%
Lone-parent families 20,810 21% 7,980 11%
Total number of families 101,190 100% 75,790 100%
45-64 years
Couples with or without children 73,310 83% 47,310 89%
Lone-parent families 14,900 17% 5,580 11%
Total number of families 88,200 100% 52,890 100%
65 years and over
Couples with or without children 29,880 89% 13,060 88%
Lone-parent families 3,740 11% 1,740 12%
Total number of families 33,620 100% 14,800 100%

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, the difference in family composition between Canadian-born families and recent immigrant families with an older spouse or lone parent of 65 years of age or over is minimal. Among younger families, however, families headed by single parents make up a larger share of families of the Canadian-born than of recent immigrants.

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, fewer than six in ten 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 oldest family member. Among young families, 77% of recent immigrant families have children at home, compared to 70% of Canadian-born families. However, 37% of recent immigrant families of seniors have children in the home, compared to only 20% 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, Vancouver 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. A total of 18% of recent immigrant families with children have three or more children, compared to 16% of Canadian-born families.

The share of young families with children that have three or more children is roughly the same for Canadian-born families and recent immigrant families. However, one in five recent immigrant families with children whose older spouse or lone parent is 45 to 64 years old has more than two children, compared to one in six Canadian-born families. Among the oldest recent immigrant families with children, 9% have three or more children living at home, compared to only 1% 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, Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born families Recent immigrant families
All ages (including 15-24 years)
One child 59,160 44% 42,450 39%
Two children 53,890 40% 46,750 43%
Three or more children 21,800 16% 19,070 18%
25-44 years
One child 26,750 38% 23,470 40%
Two children 30,860 44% 25,420 43%
Three or more children 13,050 18% 9,830 17%
45-64 years
One child 24,750 45% 14,900 34%
Two children 22,110 40% 19,890 46%
Three or more children 8,640 16% 8,730 20%
65 years and over
One child 5,970 89% 3,570 65%
Two children 650 10% 1,390 25%
Three or more children 90 1% 500 9%

Majority of recent immigrants married to other recent immigrants

The majority of the 144,750 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 12% of families have a recently immigrated spouse and a spouse who immigrated earlier, before 1981. And 11% of recent immigrant families in Vancouver have a recent immigrant paired with a Canadian-born spouse, a smaller proportion than in Canada as a whole where 15% of families are of this type.

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

Figure C-3

Of the families of immigrants who landed before 1986, 34% consist of an immigrant paired with a Canadian-born spouse (not shown in Figure C-3). This proportion is slightly more than three times as large as 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 2% of recent immigrant couples live common-law, compared to 17% 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, Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Canadian-born families Recent immigrant families
All ages 32,380 17% 1,680 2%
15-24 years 2,320 78% 130 23%
25-44 years 19,920 25% 1,130 2%
45-64 years 8,700 12% 370 1%
65 years and over 1,440 5% 60 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 five households is a recent immigrant household

In 2001, there were 163,710 recent immigrant households—households in which at least one member 15 years or older was a recent immigrant. These made up 22% of the total number of households in Vancouver.

More than 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. The remaining 31,410 households consist of very recent immigrants living together with other persons. In 71% of these latter households, the other persons are immigrants who landed before 1996, in 21% they are Canadian-born and in 8% they are both Canadian-born and other immigrants.

Table C-6: Immigrant households (by period of immigration) and Canadian-born households, Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Number of
households
Share of
all households
Canadian-born 396,920 52%
Earlier immigrants 189,740 25%
Recent immigrants 163,710 22%
 1986-1995 immigrants 93,320 12.3%
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 31,410 4.1%
 1996-2001 immigrants only 38,980 5.1%
All households 758,710 100%

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.

One-half of households in Vancouver comprise only Canadian-born persons. Households including one or more earlier immigrants but no recent immigrants account for 25% 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, 85%, are family households. This compares to 56% of Canadian-born households.

Almost one-half of Canadian-born households are non-family households, and most of these consist of a person living alone. Among recent immigrant households, only one in ten consists of a person living alone.

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

A significant proportion of recent immigrant households consists 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, Vancouver 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 221,090 201,520 17,140 2,430 147,470 28,370
Earlier immigrants 136,920 118,510 14,150 4,270 45,130 7,690
Recent immigrants 139,030 103,270 20,280 15,480 16,330 8,380
 1986-1995 immigrants 77,820 59,680 11,070 7,070 10,720 4,790
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 29,150 13,890 7,530 7,740 0 2,280
 1996-2001 immigrants only 32,090 29,710 1,690 690 5,610 1,310
All households 500,330 426,450 51,690 22,200 212,060 46,330
 
Canadian-born 56% 51% 4% 1% 37% 7%
Earlier immigrants 72% 62% 7% 2% 24% 4%
Recent immigrants 85% 63% 12% 9% 10% 5%
 1986-1995 immigrants 83% 64% 12% 8% 11% 5%
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 93% 44% 24% 25% 0% 7%
 1996-2001 immigrants only 82% 76% 4% 2% 14% 3%
All households 66% 56% 7% 3% 28% 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 than Canadian-born and earlier immigrant households to be large in size. One of every two recent immigrant households has one to three members, compared to eight out of ten Canadian-born households. The proportion of households with four or more members is more than 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, Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage distribution)
  Number of persons in household Total
households
Households 1 to 3 4 or 5 6 or more
Canadian-born 326,190 63,990 6,750 396,930
Earlier immigrants 137,300 44,840 7,590 189,730
Recent immigrants 84,780 60,520 18,410 163,700
 1986-1995 immigrants 48,450 35,120 9,750 93,320
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 14,140 10,190 7,080 31,410
 1996-2001 immigrants only 22,200 15,210 1,580 38,990
All households 555,490 170,370 32,870 758,720
  Number of persons in household Estimated
average size
Households 1 to 3 4 or 5 6 or more
Canadian-born 82% 16% 2% 2.2
Earlier immigrants 72% 24% 4% 2.7
Recent immigrants 52% 37% 11% 3.6
 1986-1995 immigrants 52% 38% 10% 3.5
 1996-2001 immigrants with others 45% 32% 23% 4.1
 1996-2001 immigrants only 57% 39% 4% 3.3
All households 73% 22% 4% 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 nearly one in four of such households having six or more members. Only 2% of Canadian-born households are that large.

More care of children

The proportion of recent immigrants 15 years of age and over reporting time spent on unpaid care of children is much higher than the proportion of Canadian-born persons in the same category. As well, a larger share of immigrants who landed during the 1986-1995 period than the Canadian-born reported time spent on a regular basis to look after elder persons.

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, Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area, 2001 (number and percentage)
  Care of
  Children Elders
Women
Canadian-born 163,670 27% 93,740 16%
Immigrants 159,950 41% 76,260 20%
 Immigrated before 1986 63,440 38% 39,030 23%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 58,510 45% 25,040 19%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 38,010 42% 12,200 14%
Men
Canadian-born 129,190 22% 62,880 10%
Immigrants 124,810 35% 56,100 16%
 Immigrated before 1986 52,930 34% 28,280 18%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 43,580 37% 18,520 16%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 28,310 35% 9,300 12%
Total
Canadian-born 292,860 24% 156,620 13%
Immigrants 284,750 39% 132,360 18%
 Immigrated before 1986 116,360 36% 67,310 21%
 Immigrated 1986-1995 102,080 41% 43,550 18%
 Immigrated 1996-2001 66,310 39% 21,500 13%

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

 

Date Modified: