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Child & Family Demographics

Toronto’s children live in diverse families and communities. No two families have the same combination of family structure, ability/disability, race, culture, creed, language, income or any other distinction. Similarly no two Toronto communities have the identical mix of residents, services, parks, housing or amenities. The information below describes some characteristics of Toronto’s children, families and communities.

Children in Toronto

The 2016 Census reported that 398,135 children (14 years and younger) live in the City of Toronto. While there has been a slight decrease in the child population since 2011, children still make up 15% of Toronto’s total population. The table – Population by age (single years) in Toronto and by neighbourhood – breaks down the child population by single years of age. Use the filter in the top right to view this data at a neighbourhood level.

When children are divided into five year groupings, the youngest children (those that are newborn to four years old) make up 34% of the child population, while five to nine year olds make up 34% of the child population and ten to fourteen year olds make up 33% of the child population.

The following chart shows how the number of children in each five year grouping has changed between 2011 and 2016.

  • the population 4 years and younger decreased by 2,725 children
  • 5 to 9 years olds increased by 6,970 children
  • 10 to 14 years olds decreased by 5,180 children

Where do Toronto children live?

Children live in all parts of Toronto but some areas have a larger child population than others. The map – Where do children live in Toronto? shows how the 2016 child population is dispersed across Toronto’s census tracts. Note: the map highlights only the residential portions of Toronto’s census tracts since this is generally where families live. Non residential areas are made up of parks and industrial/commercial land.

Change in the child population

While the child population at the city level did not see a lot of change between the 2011 and 2016 Census, many communities saw significant change. The map – Change in Toronto’s child population 2011 to 2016 shows how some local areas saw large increases while other areas experienced a decrease in the number of children.

Births

In 2017, Public Health Ontario recorded 29,311 Toronto births. While many babies are being born, Toronto’s birth rate of 9.9% (crude birth rate per 1,000 population) has been decreasing since 2007 when the birth rate was 12.1%. The chart below shows the change in Toronto births and the birth rate from 2007 to 2017.

Newcomers

Many international immigrants and internal migrants from other parts of Ontario and Canada are drawn to Toronto for the quality of life. Toronto is a multicultural city with a wide range of employment opportunities. It is generally considered a safe and clean city with good schools, services and amenities.

While Toronto’s birth rate may not be increasing, the child population is still impacted by the arrival of newcomer families with young children. According to the 2011 Census, roughly 9% of Toronto children arrived in Canada between 2006 and 2011.

Toronto compared to the rest of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area)

The GTA is the most populous metropolitan area in Canada and it is made up of the regional municipalities of Durham, Peel, Halton, York and the City of Toronto.

In 2016, the Census counted 1,070,635 children (14 years and younger) in the GTA. Of these children:

  • 37% live in the City of Toronto,
  • 24% live in Peel Region,
  • 18% live in York Region,
  • 11% live in Durham Region and
  • 10% live in Halton Region.

The chart below compares Toronto’s child population to the other GTA regions.

Sources

[1] Statistics Canada, 2016 Census and 2011 Census (some data derived from a custom tabulation)
[2] Statistics Canada, T1Family File 2013 (some data derived from a custom tabulation)
[3] Toronto Vital Signs Report 2015, page 85
[4] Toronto Employment and Social Services 2015

Families in Toronto

There is no typical family in Toronto. A child’s family may include siblings, one parent, two parents or guardians. Parents may be married, common-law, same-sex, step parent, grandparent or foster parent. Families have a range of diverse attributes including ethnicity, culture, ability/disability, creed or race.

In Toronto, approximately a third of all families have at least one child 12 years or younger. In total there are 217,855 families with children 12 years and younger. Seventy-six percent of these families are two-parent and 24% are lone-parent.

FamilyCountPercent
Two Parent166,64076%
Lone parent51,21524%
All217,855100%

Family Income

In 2015, Toronto families (with children 12 years and younger) had a median income of $63,209 [2] which means half of families had an income above $63,209 and the other half  had an income below $63,209. Toronto’s average family income was much higher at $94,133.

FamilyMedian after tax incomeAverage after tax income
Two parent$77,200$110,590
Lone parents$33,095$40,592
All$63,209$94,133

Examining median and average income at the census tract level shows areas in Toronto where families are thriving financially and areas where families are facing financial hardship.

Tip – On the map below, click the arrows >> in the top left corner to show the legend and to be able to choose what features you want to see.

Twenty-four percent of children 12 years and younger live in a single parent family. Single parent families often face greater economic challenges since they are reliant on only one income. The chart below shows that in Toronto the 2015 average after-tax income of single parent families with young children was $40,592 which is significantly lower than couple families at $110,590.

Income levels of two-parent families versus single-parent families

The chart below compares the proportion of two-parent and single-parent families in each $20,000 income grouping and shows that single parent families are more likely to have lower incomes.

Toronto families receiving financial assistance through Ontario Works (OW)

Ontario Works provides money for food, shelter and other costs to people in financial need who meet the eligibility criteria. The chart below shows the  different types of Toronto families who receive assistance through OW. In 2018, single-parent families represented 24% of all family types.

Toronto’s Communities