Census learning centre
Families

Release date: July 13, 2022

Catalogue number: 982000032021014

Hello and welcome to the Families video!

The objective of this video is to explain the different types of families, which are census families and economic families. It presents the concepts and variables related to families such as household type, family structure and the living arrangements of individuals. Family-related characteristics and concepts can apply to families, individuals (those in families or not) or households.

Subject
Family
Length
00:06:03
Cost
Free
Links

Watch the video

Concept video: Families - Transcription

(The Statistics Canada symbol and "Canada" wordmark appear on screen with the title: "Concept video: Families".)

Welcome to the "Families" concept video!

In this video, we will be focusing on families. We will look at the two definitions of families, and the concepts and variables relating to them.

Let’s start by looking at the family variables and how they are derived.

Family variables are derived for the population in private households.

They are derived primarily from the responses of all household members to relationship to Person 1 (question 7) of the census questionnaire.

The responses to questions on Sex at birth (question 2), Gender (question 3), Date of birth (question 4), Marital status (question 5) and Common-law (question 6) are also used.

In addition, consideration is given to the order in which household members are listed on the questionnaire.

Two concepts of families are being used when releasing census data:

  • Census family and
  • Economic family.

Let’s start with the census family.

It is the narrower concept of the two and is defined by couples living together, with or without children, and parents in a one-parent family living with their children.

(A figure presenting the "Census family structure, 2021 Census of population" and its associated characteristics appears on the screen.

Census families are divided into either one-parent families or couple families (married or common-law).

Couple families are further categorized as those without children and those with children. Couples with children can be two-parent families that are either non-stepfamilies or stepfamilies, and the latter can be either simple stepfamilies or complex stepfamilies.

Source: Statistics Canada, Census of Population, 2021.)

Now we will look at the two major types of census family:

  • Couple family (with children or without children) and
  • One-parent family.

(Figures using small circles to represent either a child or children and large circles to represent parents appear on the screen. It is important to note that the parent category includes grandparents in a skip-generation family.

There are three distinct configurations displayed: couple family with one child (Two-parent) non-stepfamily, couple family with no children and one-parent family.

The couple family with one child is represented by two large circles side by side, both of which are connected to the small circle below.

The couple family with no children is represented by two large circles side by side.

The one-parent family is represented by a large circle connected to a small circle directly below it.

Source: Statistics Canada, Census of Population, 2021.)

Therefore, a person must be part of a couple or in a parent–child relationship to be part of a census family.

Each couple in the population is assigned to its own census family, regardless of whether they have children.

Couple families with children can be two-parent non-stepfamilies or two-parent stepfamilies.

Two-parent stepfamilies can be

  • Simple stepfamilies or
  • Complex stepfamilies.

(The (two-parent) simple stepfamily is represented by two large circles side by side, with only one of the large circles connected to a small circle directly below it.

The (two-parent) complex stepfamily (three types) is represented by three groupings of large and small circles.

The first type is represented by two large circles side by side, with two small circles below them. One of these large circles is connected to both of the smaller circles, and the other large circle is connected to only one of the two small circles below it.

The second type is represented by two large circles side by side, with three small circles below them. Both of the large circles connect to the small circle between and below them, and, individually, each large circle connects to the closest small circle below it.

The last type is represented by two large circles side by side, with two small circles below them. Each of the two large circles connects to one small circle directly below it.

Source: Statistics Canada, Census of Population, 2021.)

Next, we will look at the criteria to determine who is a child in a census family.

This is important for identifying not only children in census families, but also parents in one-parent census families and which couples have children in their census family.

“Children” in census families refers to biological, adopted or step sons or daughters (regardless of age) whose usual place of residence is the same dwelling as their parent(s).

It also refers to grandchildren living in households where there are no parents present.

Children who are living with their married spouse or common-law partner, or with one or more of their own children, are not considered to be members of the census family of their parent(s), even if they are living in the same dwelling.

(A couple census family with two children appears on the screen. One child is shown getting a spouse creating a separate census family with his spouse.)

In addition, children who do not live in the same dwelling as their parent(s) are not considered members of the census family of their parent(s).

(The second child is shown moving out of the dwelling of her parents to live in her own apartment.)

Next, we will take a look at the census family variables.

There are five main variables related to the census family:

  • Census family structure
  • Child presence
  • Census family status
  • Household living arrangements
  • Household type

Now we will take a look at the economic family.

Economic family is a broader concept than the census family.

It refers to a group of two or more persons who live in the same dwelling and are related to each other by blood, marriage, common-law union, adoption or a foster relationship.

Here are a few examples of households that contain an economic family:

  • A couple census family, for example, a husband and wife.

    (An image of a couple, representing an economic family, appears on the screen.)

  • A census family plus any person related to this family and living in the same dwelling, for example, a husband and wife living with their niece.

    (An image of a couple living with another relative (niece), representing an economic family, appears on the screen.)

  • Two or more co-resident siblings who are not members of a census family, for example, a brother and sister living together.

    (An image of a brother living with his sister, representing an economic family, appears on the screen.)

  • Two or more co-resident census families who are related to one another, for example, a husband and wife living with their married son and daughter-in-law.

    (An image of a couple and their married child and spouse living together, representing an economic family, appears on the screen.)

There are two main variables related to the economic family.

The first is economic family structure.

The second variable is economic family status.

A person cannot be in more than one census family or in more than one economic family.

(Two census families appear on screen. Census family 1 consists of a child and the child's mother and stepfather. Census family 2 consists of the child's father and stepmother. The child is moved from census family 1 to census family 2. A red cross appears when the child is added to both census families.)

All persons in a census family are part of one economic family.

(A small circle with the text "Census family: Mother with one child" nested inside a larger circle with the text "Economic family" appears on the screen.)

A person can be in an economic family but not in a census family.

(A small circle with the text "Census family: Mother with one child" nested inside a larger circle with the text "Economic family - Niece of mother" appears on the screen.)

If there are additional relatives living with a census family, those persons are also in the economic family.

(A small circle with the text "Census family: Mother with one child" nested inside a larger circle with the text "Economic family - Niece of mother, grandfather, cousin" appears on the screen.)

The additional relatives, if there are two or more, may also be in a census family among themselves, provided they are a couple with or without children or a one-parent family with children.

(Two small circles nested inside a larger circle appear on the screen. The small circle on the left displays the text "Census family 1: Mother with one child". The small circle on the right displays the text "Census family 2: Daughter and son-in-law of mother from census family 1". The larger circle displays the text ""Economic family - Niece of mother, grandfather, cousin".)

Any unrelated persons living in this dwelling would not be part of the economic family.

(Two small circles nested inside a larger circle and a circle outside the larger circle appear on the screen. The small circle on the left displays the text "Census family 1: Mother with one child". The small circle on the right displays the text "Census family 2: Daughter and son-in-law of mother from census family 1". The larger circle displays the text ""Economic family - Niece of mother, grandfather, cousin". A circle outside the larger circle displays the text "Unrelated lodger".)

The following figure shows the census family and economic family.

(A figure presenting “Economic family membership and census family membership, 2021 Census of Population,” uses interconnected rectangle boxes to depict the different categories of the population covered in the census, for production and dissemination purposes. The total population is separated into persons in collective dwellings and persons in private households. The persons in private households category is further broken down into persons in economic families and persons not in economic families.

The persons in economic families category may include persons in census families, and this category can be further broken down into persons in couple families without children, persons in two-parent families and persons in one-parent families.

The persons in economic families category may also include persons not in census families living with other relatives (includes foster children).

Persons not in economic families can be further broken down into persons living with non-relatives only and persons living alone.

Source: Statistics Canada, Census of Population, 2021.)

(The words "Thank you for watching the "Families" video" appear on screen.)

This concludes the "Families" video.

(The census logo appears with a link, which is also available to view here: Census of population.)

For more detailed information regarding concepts, variables, methodology, historical comparability and other elements, please refer to Statistics Canada's census pages.

(The "Canada" wordmark appears. ISBN: 978-0-660-43281-6)

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