There are 25 per cent more families in Yorkton headed by single dads than there were five years ago according to statistics from 2011 Census data released by Statistics Canada (StatsCan) on September 19.
The overall percentage of lone-parent families in Yorkton, 15.9 per cent, is consistent with both the national and provincial averages at 16.3 and 16.4 per cent respectively. The Yorkton number itself only grew slightly from 685 to 700, but the number of male-led households was up from 100 to 125 while female-led families were down from 585 to 575.
The 25 per cent increase in Yorkton single-dad households was much greater than the national rate, which rose 16.2 per cent, but Yorkton (and Saskatchewan) still lags behind the national average. Men now lead two out of 10 single-parent homes Canada-wide. In Yorkton the ratio is now 1.4 in 10.
This continues a trend seen in the 2006 census that experts attribute at least partially to a shift in the courts toward granting more men custody of their children.
StatsCan started dribbling out the new Census data in February when it released population and dwelling counts followed by age and gender data in May. That data indicated that there are many more very young and very old people in Yorkton than in 2006.
While Yorkton’s population increased by 4.2 per cent, the percentage increase of children less than four was almost double that at 8.1 per cent and the number of seniors over the age of 85 jumped by 9.5 per cent.
The growing group of late octogenarians is not overly surprising. Life expectancy in Canada has been steadily increasing for decades and is currently almost 81, a decade longer than in the 1960s.
The very young children may be explained by a big bulge in the segment of the population of prime childbearing age. The increase in adults between 20 and 35 years old also doubled the overall population bump. Particularly dramatic was the cohort of 20- to 25-year-olds who grew by 18 per cent.
This could be at least partially due to overall demographic trends. The children of baby boomers — often referred to as the boom echo — are now into their 20s and early 30s. The other part of it is likely related to younger adults migrating to the city to take advantage of Yorkton’s booming economy.
With the release of families, households, marital status and structural types of dwelling last week some other interesting demographic shifts emerged, perhaps also related to the shift in age characteristics of the population. Many more people reported living in common law relationships. In the 2006 Census, there were 810 compared to 1,020 in 2011. That’s an increase of 25.9 per cent.
Not nearly as dramatic, but significant nonetheless, was a large decrease in single people. Only 5,525 people reported being single in 2011, down 11.4 per cent from 6,155 in 2006. All categories of single people, which includes never married, separated, divorced and widowed decreased in number.
Despite the significant boost in common law couples, Yorktonites lag well behind the national average in embracing the arrangement as a family structure. Only nine per cent of Yorkton census families are common law, whereas 16.7 per cent of Canadians overall report they are.
On the other hand, the total for married couples, 72.1 per cent, is greater than the national average, 67 per cent. The Yorkton numbers are fairly consistent with the Saskatchewan average, which is 71.1 per cent.
Saskatchewan, along with Alberta, particularly rural areas tend to be more conservative and religious than other parts of the country which may account for the higher marriage numbers.
Very little changed in the way of the structural types of dwellings Yorkton residents inhabit. The total number of private households in Yorkton increased by 3.3 per cent from 6,540 to 6,760. All types of private residences were within one percentage point of 2006 data with single-detached houses accounting for 71.4 per cent of homes.
Apartment buildings made up the lion’s share of the remaining types of residences at 19.7 per cent with semi-detached houses, row houses, movable dwellings and duplex apartments counting 3.2, 3.2, 1.4 and 0.8 per cent respectively.
The final set of data, which will include language, education, employment and income statistics is scheduled for release October 24.