Some district towns defy census trend

While the number of so-called “traditional” families is on the decline in Fort Frances—and right across Canada—over the last five years, Rainy River, Atikokan, and Alberton actually saw a slight rise in the percentage of married couples with children.
According to data from the May, 2001 census released yesterday, and reported in the Daily Bulletin, married couples with children accounted for 34.5 percent of the 2,345 families in Fort Frances—down from 40.1 percent in 1996.
Nationally, the number of families made up of mom, dad, and the kids dropped to 44 percent of all families from 49 percent only five years ago.
But in Rainy River, the number of married couples with children accounted for 35.8 percent of the 265 families living there, which is up from 33.9 percent five years ago.
In Atikokan, 39.8 percent of the 1,030 families there were married with children as opposed to 35.5 percent in 1996. And Alberton saw a slight jump from 55.0 percent of “traditional” families in 1996 to 55.4 percent in the latest census.
Elsewhere in the district, Chapple, Dawson, Emo, La Vallee, Lake of the Woods, and Morley all followed the national pattern with similar declines in the number of married couples with children.
Morley saw the greatest drop, where 38.1 percent of 105 families were married with children—down 23.8 percent from the 61.9 percent recorded in 1996.
By contrast, Morley also saw a dramatic rise in the number of married couples without children living there—up to 57.1 percent from 28.6 percent five years ago.
Fort Frances, Alberton, La Vallee, Emo, and Dawson also saw rises in the number of married couples without children living in their communities.
The latest census results also showed an increasing number of common-law couples nationally. Fort Frances and most of the district townships followed that trend, except for Alberton (same number) and Rainy River (decrease).
When it came to common-law couples with children, the numbers were mixed here.
Only Fort Frances, La Vallee, Chapple, and Rainy River saw an increase in the number of common-law couples with children, with the rest of the district either holding constant or reporting a decline.
For this census, Statistics Canada expanded the definition of family to include children raised by their grandparents in absence of their parents.
And for the first time, the government agency recognized same-sex couples in its definition of common-law couples.
As reported in yesterday’s Daily Bulletin, the new census data listed zero same-sex families in Fort Frances.
But StatsCan has said that doesn’t necessarily mean there are no same-sex couples in town. For confidentiality reasons, StatsCan figures below 10 are randomly rounded up or down to zero or 10.
This means a zero could represent an actual figure of anywhere from zero to nine.
Statistics Canada did not release figures on the number of same-sex couples in communities with a total population of less than 5,000.
—With files from The Canadian Press