Editorial: Canada is leading the pack in mixed unions

Citizenship Fraud.021Further to my earlier post on the StatsCan study (Metro Vancouver has highest ratio of mixed couples in Canada), the Macleans editorial on what it may mean (I developed the chart above based on the study):

A couple of trends suggest the overall growth rate will move up in future, regardless of ethnicities involved. First, mixed unions tend to track the percentage of visible minorities in the greater Canadian populace. With visible minorities predicted to account for up to a third of the population by 2031, further growth will no doubt occur as the dating pool changes. Mixed unions are more common within younger age groups, as well, suggesting a gradual progression through society. Higher education is also correlated with mixed unions, as is urban living. Vancouver boasts the highest percentage of mixed unions, at nearly 10 per cent, followed by Toronto, Victoria, Ottawa and Calgary. As the number of mixed unions grows, so, too, will the offspring from these relationships. Whatever taboos may have existed for these children in the past, they’re being erased by sheer numbers.

Putting Canada’s record in global context is complicated by different definitions and the availability of data, but we appear to stand out for several reasons. European figures define mixed unions as between two people with different citizenship, a far lower standard of tolerance. Even so, the figures show no strong trend, with most countries no higher than Canada, despite a much broader definition of what “mixed” means. American research tends to focus solely on marriages, ignoring the prevalence of common-law relationships. When all couples are considered, Canadian figures are substantially above those in the U.S.

As for public attitudes, last year, a Gallup Poll announced that American approval of black-white marriage hit an all-time high of 87 per cent, up from four per cent in 1958. Yet Canadian sociologist Reginald Bibby points out that Canadian acceptance rates have long outstripped those in the U.S. A 2007 poll, for example, showed 92 per cent of Canadians approved of mixed marriages at a time when U.S. figures were 77 per cent. “There is probably no better index of racial and cultural integration than intermarriage,” Bibby writes. And Canada leads the pack in both performance and perspective.

Editorial: Canada is leading the pack in mixed unions.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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