Canadian households in transition: new perspectives on household experiences, immigration, regions and class in the early twentieth century

Gordon Darroch (York University)

Abstract

Canadian households in transition: new perspectives on household experiences, immigration, regions and class in the early twentieth-century

Drawing on a new Canadian historical series of census microdata samples, this paper provides the first analysis of household formation and experience based on the publicly available 1901 and 1911 samples. In this one decade, Canadian household composition is found to alter in parallel with patterns reported by Ruggles for the United States, including reductions in living in nuclear-family and other couple-headed households, slightly increased likelihood of household independence and increased residence in households extended to kin. The first decade of the twentieth century was an era of truly mass immigration to Canada. We find that the national patterns mask both large nativity and regional differences in household experiences, which deepen over the decade. The analysis pursues the implications of these immigrant-native-born and associated regional differences in statistical models incorporating gender, age, rural-urban, labour force sector and ‘class’ differentials as they were tabulated in the censuses. Independent of the effects of other conditions, regional variations remained powerful and nativity differences grew in significance after the massive immigration.

 

Keywords

Household; family; immigration; region; class