Stepfamily status of couple family with children

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on May 26, 2021.


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. The term 'two-parent family' can also be used when referring to a couple family with children.

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 2020 censuses the concept of a reconstituted family which is defined as 'a family consisting of a married, registered or cohabiting couple, with one or more children, where at least one child is the natural child of only one member of the couple. If the one partner subsequently adopts the natural child of the other partner, the resulting family ceases to be 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 May 26, 2021 to current

    The definition of the statistical unit and the category names in the classification have been changed. The terminology used in the concept definition and the classification have been modified in French from 'partenaire en union libre' to 'conjoint de fait'.

  • Stepfamily status of couple family with children November 16, 2015 to May 15, 2021

    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 was the departmental standard from September 19, 2011 to November 15, 2015.

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