Canadian Family Alternatives, Past and Present: A Comparison of Non-Family Living Arrangements in 1901 and 2001 Canada

Lisa Dillon, Université de Montréal
Maryse Dion-Tremblay, Université de Montréal

The evolving residential choices of Canadians away from the "traditional" nuclear family toward unmarried cohabiting couples and parents, single-parent families and blended families, as well as the tendency of persons to reside by themselves or with roommates because of the postponement or avoidance of marriage, has captured considerable attention among sociologists, demographers and economists. At the beginning of the 20th century, we observe the onset of such living arrangements. How have the socio-economic characteristics of such persons changed or not changed during 100 years? The primary sources used in this study are the individual public-use microdata file (PUMF) of the 2001 Canadian census and a 5% sample of the 1901 Canadian census (Canadian Families Project, University of Victoria). The resulting analysis promises a more nuanced perspective on contemporary household constellations and a more sophisticated understanding of the socio-economic exchanges and trade-offs among family and household members.

Presented in Session 155: Historical Analysis of Families and Households