Family Composition

Figure 29: Family Composition in Alberta (2006)

The family composition for children living in Alberta is vastly different for First Nations and non-Aboriginal children as illustrated in Figure 29. While slightly over half of First Nations children live in a two-parent household, well over 80 per cent of non-Aboriginal children do. In both cases, the reference to living in a two-parent household does not necessarily mean living with biological parents.

More First Nations children are living with a lone-parent, grandparent or other relative. Only one per cent of non-Aboriginal children live with grandparents or other relatives as compared to nine per cent of First Nations children in Alberta.

Figure 30: Family Composition in Alberta (2006)

Figures 30 to 32 provide information on the differences in family composition in each Treaty area. Figure 30 shows that within Treaty 6, the proportion of children living in a two-parent household ranges from 44 per cent in Pigeon Lake to 62 per cent in Goodfish Lake.

Figure 31 shows significant variations also exist between Treaty 7 communities in terms of family composition. In Eden Valley, 44 per cent of children live in a two-parent household as compared to 71.4 per cent of the children in Big Horn.

Figure 31: Family Composition in Alberta (2006)

Figure 32 shows that as with other Treaty areas, significant differences exist between communities in Treaty 8. Community variations range from just over half of the children in Horse Lake to all children in Tallcree living in a two-parent household.

Figures 30 to 32 also highlight significant variations across communities, with a number of communities with less than half of the children living in a two-parent household to a few communities reaching provincial levels and higher. Section 9, Income, will provide valuable insight into the relationship between income and family composition, showing significant differences between two-parent and single-parent households as well as between married and common-law families. Section 6, Health Indicators and Conditions, highlights the relationship between income levels and health. Some international studies have looked at the relationship between growing up in an intact 2-parent family and other family compositions. Demonstrated benefits of two-parent families include higher family income, better educational outcomes and increased connectedness to school and family for children29.

Figure 32: Family Composition in Alberta (2006)

29Resnick, M.D., Harris, L.J., Blum, W. “The Impact of Caring and Connectedness on Adolescent Health and Well-Being”, Journal Paediatric Child Health, 1993, 29, Suppl. 1, S3-S9 and Amato, P.R., “The Impact of Family Formation Change on the Cognitive, Social, and Emotional Well-Being of the Next Generation”, The Future of Children, vol. 15, no. 2, Fall 2005