OTTAWA — The number of same-sex marriages in Canada nearly tripled from 2006, according to a 2011 census released Wednesday that revealed a dramatic shift in the makeup of Canadian families.
The data showed that married couples overall declined as a proportion of all families during the period, but still formed the predominant family structure, accounting for two-thirds of all families.
In contrast, the number of declared same-sex couples has skyrocketed since same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in July 2005.
The census counted 64,575 same-sex couples in 2011, up 42.4 percent from 2006. Of these, 21,015 were same-sex married couples (up 181.5 percent) and 43,560 were same-sex common-law couples (up 15 percent).
Gay and lesbian couples, however, still accounted for only 0.8 percent of all couples in Canada.
The census counted a total of 9,389,700 families in 2011, up 5.5 percent from 2006.
Of these, nearly 6,294,000 -- slightly more than in the last survey -- consisted of married couples.
The number of common-law families meanwhile rose at a much faster pace (up 13.9 percent) to 1,567,900.
The number of single-parent families also rose 8.0 percent to just over 1,527,800 with mostly women still raising children alone but with more and more men taking on the role of single dad.
For the first time, people living alone (3,673,300) also outnumbered the number of couples living in a household with children (3,524,915).