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2006 Census: Family portrait: Continuity and change in Canadian families and households in 2006: Subprovincial changes

Households with couples and children tend to be in the suburbs of CMAs…

According to the first 2006 Census results, urban spread is continuing in CMAs (See Portrait of the Canadian Population in 2006: Subprovincial population dynamics). One characteristic of urban spread is that populations are younger, on average, in the suburbs (peripheral municipalities) of major urban centres than in the downtown areas (central municipalities) (See Portrait of the Canadian Population in 2006, by Age and Sex: Subprovincial population dynamics). One of the explanations for a younger population is that peripheral municipalities are favoured by households with couples and children, probably because they provide a lifestyle that meets their needs.

In 2006, households with couples and children accounted for more than one-third (35.9%) of the households in CMA suburbs. The corresponding figure for downtown areas was only 24.9%, close to one-quarter of all households.

The difference between central and peripheral municipalities in the proportion of households with couples and children is clearly visible in the Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver CMAs (see maps).

In the Montréal CMA, for example, the proportion of households with couples and children was substantially lower in the central municipality formed by the City of Montréal (19.3%) than in the surrounding suburban areas in 2006. Conversely, the highest concentrations of households with couples and children in the Montréal CMA were in new peripheral municipalities such as Saint-Colomban (39.1%), Mirabel (39.5%) and Blainville (45.6%) to the north, Saint-Lazare (49.1%), Sainte-Julie (43.4%), La Prairie (33.9%) and Mercier (39.4%) to the south, and some municipalities in the western part of the island.

Montréal CMA. Percentage of private households containing couples with children under age 25 at home by 2006 Census Tract (CT). Map 1 of 2.

Montréal CMA. Percentage of private households containing couples with children under age 25 at home by 2006 Census Tract (CT). Map 2 of 2.

The situation was similar in the Toronto CMA. As the map shows, the municipalities with the highest proportions of households with couples and children in 2006 bordered the municipality of Toronto on the north and west: Vaughan (51.3%), Markham (45.9%), Richmond Hill (45.4%), Brampton (43.7%), Oakville (41.9%) and Mississauga (41.3%). Those municipalities also had a high growth rate of the population in private households between 2001 and 2006.

The municipality of Toronto, on the other hand, had a much smaller proportion of households with couples and children (25.5%) than the Toronto CMA overall (33.7%) and the national average (28.5%).

Toronto CMA. Percentage of private households containing couples with children under age 25 at home by 2006 Census Tract (CT). Map 1 of 2.

Toronto CMA. Percentage of private households containing couples with children under age 25 at home by 2006 Census Tract (CT). Map 2 of 2.

Though less clear-cut, the differences between downtown and suburban areas in the proportion of households with couples and children were also observed in Vancouver. The central municipality of Vancouver had a smaller proportion of couple households with children (20.0%) than was generally found in peripheral municipalities such as Anmore (48.6%), North Vancouver (38.1%), Coquitlam (36.2%), Maple Ridge (35.2%) and Surrey (34.7%).

Vancouver CMA. Percentage of private households containing couples with children under age 25 at home by 2006 Census Tract (CT).

Percentage of private households containing couples with children under age 25 at home by 2006 Census Tract (CT) and by 2006 Census Subdivision (CSD).

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