Selected Statistics on Canadian Families and Family Law:
Second Edition


The following pages contain information on families in Canada, characteristics of those families and information on family law topics such as marriage, divorce, support awards, payment of child support, and custody and access. To produce the most accurate picture possible of the circumstances of families in Canada, information and statistics from a number of different sources have been compiled. At the heart of these sources are many Statistics Canada surveys collecting data on various facets of Canadian life. Reports produced by other organizations, generally using Statistics Canada data, have also been used. Therefore, when the term "family" appears in the document it refers to the Statistics Canada definition of a census family: a currently married or common-law couple with or without never-married children, or a single parent with never-married children, living in the same dwelling.

Every attempt has been made to include the most recent information available. As relevant information has been made public, this document has been updated. Certain information contained in the previous publication of Selected Statistics has been repeated as it is based on surveys, such as the census, that have not been repeated since the original publication appeared. The other Statistics Canada surveys used in this report are the annual Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID), and the divorce and marriage statistics.

There is an additional Statistics Canada survey that is of particular interest-the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), which began in 1994. This survey collects, among other things, information on family law issues such as divorce, separation, support payments, custody and access and a great deal of information from this survey has been included in this report. A more detailed analysis of the family and custody history section of the NLSCY (Cycle 1) can be found in the Department of Justice Canada publication entitled, Custody, Access and Child Support: Findings from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (1999).

The appendix to this document briefly describes the various surveys used as sources in the document. The bibliography provides details on the other sources from which information was obtained.

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