Marital status of person

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on October 19, 2015.


Marital status refers to whether or not a person is living in a common-law union as well as the legal marital status of those who are not living in a common-law union. All persons aged less than 15 are considered as never married and not living common law.

Person refers to an individual and is the unit of analysis for most social statistics programs.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

This standard generally conforms to the recommendations for censuses contained in the United Nations' "Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 3", 2017. While the Principles define marital status with reference to the "marriage laws or customs of the country", it recognizes that in some countries it will be necessary to take customary unions such as consensual unions into account. Living common law is the form of consensual union found in Canada.


Additional information


Relation to previous version

  • Marital status of person October 19, 2015 to current

    The classification of marital status has been updated with some revised category labels. Some definitions have been revised for greater clarity and simplicity but no essential changes have been made. A short title variant of the classification has been added for potential use in dissemination.

  • Marital status of person October 20, 2008 to October 18, 2015

    This was the departmental standard from October 20, 2008 to October 18, 2015.

Date modified: