Researchers call for better federal tracking of marriage, divorce stats

Researchers are calling for Statistics Canada to restart the publishing of its annual data on marriage and divorce rates after it stopped crunching the numbers in 2011.

Statistics Canada stopped tracking the data in 2011

Andrea Mrozek is the family program director at Cardus, a think-tank that submitted a letter to the federal government calling for the publication of annual marriage and divorce stats. (Twitter )

Researchers are calling for Statistics Canada to resume publishing annual data on marriage and divorce rates, eight years after the agency stopped crunching the numbers. 

More than 30 researchers and representatives of religious organizations have added their names to a letter sent to Justice Minister David Lametti and Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, pressuring them to restart the tracking of that data — something that hasn't been done since 2011.

Despite being "bread-and-butter statistics," numbers about marriages and divorces in Canada remain extremely difficult to get, said Andrea Mrozek, family program director at Cardus, the think-tank that submitted the letter.

"I think they truly are vital, and they measure important things about our culture and our community," Mrozek told CBC Radio's All In A Day.

Canadians have an unclear picture of marriage and divorce rates in the country. Now, more than thirty researchers are asking Statistics Canada to start publishing that data, again. 7:57

Census data not enough

Issues like social isolation and poverty reduction, as well as the country's demographics, can be better understood with access to marriage and divorce rates, she said.

The fact Canada does not make that data available annually sets it apart from other western countries, Mrozek said.

The census does provide some statistics on marriage and divorce, but Mrozek said data published every five years isn't enough to discern trends or to inform public policy and academic research.

 "As researchers we're looking at it as this institution that undergirds civil society," Mrozek said. 

Statistics Canada published the data for nearly 40 years before it stopped in 2011.


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