Marriage used to be a given for most people, but a new survey shows that Canadians today are less interested in tying the knot than ever before.
The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online poll of more than 1,500 people to understand the changing attitudes towards marriage across Canada. Fifty-three per cent of participants said it’s not necessary for couples to tie the knot if they want to spend the rest of their lives together, and one in six participants said they’re not interested in the milestone at all.
The institute found correlations between the participants’ own marriage status and opinion. For instance, the majority of those in common-law relationships (68 per cent) saw marriage as not important.
The poll found that millennials and baby boomers were most likely to say that marriage is irrelevant, while the youngest (aged 18 to 24) and oldest (aged 65+) participants said marriage was either very or somewhat important.
And when children were added to the equation, the majority of participants maintained that marriage is not important for couples who plan to stay together.
The belief that marriage is no longer a necessary milestone is reflected across the country. According to Statistics Canada, in 2016, one-fifth of couples were living as common law, which is three times the rate than in 1981. More people are choosing to live alone as well, and in 2016, one-person households became the most common type for the first time, ahead of couples living with children.
This attitude “could be a result of a shift from more traditional values, like marriage, to values such as education and careers,” the institute noted. Women no longer need marriage for financial stability, and many people are starting their careers later, which causes them to hold off on marriage.
Canadians also view common-law relationships and marriage similarly from a legal perspective, but say that marriage is still a bigger commitment.