ROGER SAUVÉ – The People of Cornwall and SD&G – A 10 week feature for the Cornwall Free News – Week 6 – Are you married or what?

ROGER SAUVÉ – The People of Cornwall and SD&G – A 10 week feature for the Cornwall Free News – Week 6 – Are you married or what?

Relationships are important in all our lives. They start, they change, they continue or they either end by separation, divorce or death. Life happens in SD&G.

Here are the latest facts, or as up to date as I we can get them. According to the 2006 Census, 52% of adults aged 15 and up in SD&G are currently legally married. They are the majority. Another 4% are legally married but are separated from their partners. Another 8% are legally divorced while 8% being either widows or widowers.

The rest (28%) are currently single and have never been legally married before. This is the legal status that you reported when you filled out your 2006 Census form.

How you describe yourself legally, may not be how you actually live your life. But don’t worry. You are probably not breaking the law.

Let’s clarify a few facts. You probably think that the 8% who are currently divorced that I noted above seems to be a lot lower than what you expected or that you heard about in the media. You are right. For many, the divorce state is a transition period to something else. It can be a transition to re-marriage, to a common-law relationship or to being single again.

A more accurate and realistic picture of marriage and divorce can be painted by asking people how they have fared over a longer period of time. Statistically, at the Canada level, about 38% of those who are now legally married are likely to divorce before their 30th wedding anniversary. About 41% will divorce before they celebrate their 50th anniversary. Not terrific but better than the 50% divorce rate that Americans like to talk about.

Many people don’t give up, however, as about 15% of those who previously divorced have remarried again. Others have chosen other types of relationships.

It is widely accepted by researchers that common-law couples are much more likely to separate than are legally married couples.

The Census tells us more about families within SD&G.

The 2006 Census reveals that 72% of families of two or more persons are headed by legally married couples. This is the clear majority. About 14% of families are headed by common-law couples and 14% are headed by lone-parents. About 8 out of 10 lone-parents are females.

There is more. If you take all the couples combined, whether legally married or in a common-law relationship, about 46% are currently raising children living at home. Others may have had children in the past but they have moved out by now. They are now empty nesters. Others may never have had children. By definition, lone-parents are assumed to have children living at home.

On average, legally married couples have 3.0 persons (two parents and an average of one child) in their families. On average, common-law couple families are made up of 2.9 persons while lone-parents have 2.5 persons (one adult and an average of 1.5 children) in their households.

Have a good life … whatever path you chose or are transitioning through.

Roger Sauvé is President of People Patterns Consulting ( Roger is an economist and demographer and lives in Summerstown.

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