New Brunswick

Fewer New Brunswick couples living with kids

Fewer New Brunswick households are living with children than ever before, according to a Statistics Canada report from the 2016 census. The report shows that in 2016, only 43.4 per cent of New Brunswick couples lived with children.

Reasons for the shift include low fertility, an increase in senior citizens, and fewer adults living at home

Jade Ilkay and her girlfriend Alix Saulnier have decided not to have children.

Fewer New Brunswick households are living with children than ever before, according to a Statistics Canada report from the 2016 census.

The report shows that in 2016, only 43.4 per cent of New Brunswick couples lived with children — the second lowest percentage of all provinces and territories, and well below the national average of 51.1 per cent. 

Only Nova Scotia's households are more child-free, with 42.8 per cent of couples living with children.

France-Pascale Menard, an analyst with Statistics Canada and one of the authors of the release, says there are three key factors that affect the low percentage.

"New Brunswick has an older population than the national average, a higher proportion of seniors aged 65 and older," she said. "It's also related to fertility, New Brunswick has a low fertility rate, and it's also related to young adults living at home."

"Why would we want to have kids"

Ilkay has two dogs instead of children: Arthas (left) and Bowser (right).

Jade Ilkay, 27, knew early on that she didn't want any kids, and when she first met her long-term girlfriend, it was something the two of them talked about in depth. 

"We were on the same page right out of the gate," she said. "Then we got into talking about, well, why would we want to have kids?

"There's a million kids in the world, and obviously for us, it's more difficult to go about acquiring a child than it is for other couples."

The cost was one of the biggest deterrents to Ilkay, who said she decided it wasn't worth it after she moved out and realized how much it cost just for her to support herself.

"You know, my whole opinion on how much responsibility it is, how much money it is, how much time it is, that doesn't really change [over time]," she said.

She said the costs of raising a child are even higher for same sex couples who must go through adoption or in vitro fertilization.

"I have dogs, and when they turn 15, they are going to slow down a little bit, they're not going to start thinking about how they want a car," she said. 

Ilkay and her partner are just one of a growing number of young couples deciding not to have children in New Brunswick.

 New Brunswick's fertility rate is 1.57 children per woman, as opposed to the national average of 1.59.

'You never really escape that relationship with your parents'

Miranda McCausland still lives at home, and plans to continue doing so until it makes sense financially for her to leave.

In addition, there are fewer adult children living with their parents than the national average.

Miranda McCausland is 23 years old. She has been living at home for most of her life, except for a year when she went to Halifax for university. While her living situation makes sense to her, she said it's not for everyone.

"You never really escape that relationship with your parents you have in high school," she said. "So if you're going out for the night, they're still like where are you going, when are you going to be back?"

Her main motivation for staying at home was financial. By saving on rent, she was able to minimize her debt.

"I've definitely looked into getting an apartment many times, but while going to university, I could only work very part time hours," she said. "There was no way I could afford to live away from home without racking up loads of extra debt that I didn't need."

Now that she has finished nursing school and is ready to start a full-time job in her field, McCausland plans to move out as soon as possible.

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