Marital status

Part A - Short definition:

Refers to the marital status of the person, taking into account his/her common-law status.

Part B - Detailed definition:

Refers to the marital status of the person, taking into account his/her common-law status. Persons who are married or living common law may be of opposite sex or of the same sex. The classification is as follows:

Married (and not separated)
A person who is married and has not separated or obtained a divorce, and whose spouse is living.
Common-law
A person who is living with another person as a couple but who is not legally married to that person.
Separated
A person who is married but who no longer lives with his/her spouse (for any reason other than illness, work or school) and who has not obtained a divorce. Persons living common law are not included in this category.
Divorced
A person who has obtained a legal divorce and who has not remarried. Persons living common law are not included in this category.
Widowed
A person who has lost his/her spouse through death and who has not remarried. Persons living common law are not included in this category.
Single (never legally married)
A person who has never married or a person whose marriage has been annulled and who has not remarried. Persons living common law are not included in this category.

Census years:

2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1971, 1966, 1961

Reported for:

Total population

Question number(s):

Derived variable: Questions 4 and 5

Responses:

Not applicable

Remarks:

Before 1981, data on marital status were collected using a single question. In the 1981 and 1986 censuses, people living common law could report their common-law status by using one of the response categories in the question on relationship to Person 1; they were nonetheless included in the category 'Married' for purposes of data on marital status. Since 1991, the addition of a question solely on common law has made it possible to separate the concept of common-law status from that of legal marital status and to provide accurate data on both these concepts. The data from both questions can be combined to derive the classification, 'Marital status.'

In 2011, the category 'Never legally married' on the questionnaire was changed (previously 'Never legally married (single)'), but the concept did not change. Since 2006, the category 'Married' includes legally married same-sex spouses. Since 2001, the category 'Common-law' includes same-sex common-law partners. In 1961 and 1966, separated persons were included with married persons.

All persons under 15 years of age are considered to be single (never legally married) and not living common law.

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