Stepfamily status of couple family with children

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on November 16, 2015.


Stepfamily status refers to whether or not the family contains any children who are biological or adopted children of only one married spouse or common-law partner and whose birth or adoption preceded the current relationship. The family can contain such children of each married spouse or common-law partner.

Couple family with children refers to a census family that contains a married couple or a couple living common law and at least one child. A couple may be of opposite or same sex. Children may be children by birth, marriage, common-law union or adoption regardless of their age or marital status as long as they live in the dwelling and do not have their own spouse, partner or child living in the dwelling.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe - Conference of European Statisticians (UNECE-CES) includes in its recommendations for the 2010 censuses the concept of a reconstituted family which is defined as 'a family consisting of a married or cohabiting couple or a marital (registered) same-sex couple, with one or more children, where at least one child is a non-common child that is the child of only one member of the couple. If the other partner adopts the child of one partner later, the resulting family is no longer a reconstituted family.' This concept is equivalent to 'stepfamily,' contained in this standard; however, this standard uses terminology that is more familiar in the Canadian context. The definition used in this standard differs from that of the UNECE-CES; the terms 'common' and 'uncommon' children would be confusing in the Canadian context when used in conjunction with the standard terminology for common-law unions.


Relation to previous version

  • Stepfamily status of couple family with children November 16, 2015 to current

    This is an update to 'Stepfamily status of couple family with children', adding reference to children of common-law unions, for clarity.

  • Stepfamily status of couple family with children September 19, 2011 to November 15, 2015

    This standard was replaced by a new departmental standard on November 16, 2015.

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