No Close friendships

What is it?

No Close Friendships is based on parents of TDSB students (Grades K to 6) who reported on how many close friends their child has at school.

Why is it important?

Close friendships are a strong indicator of overall social well-being. Friendships can be an important source of support for children. Having close friends can have long-term social, cognitive and academic benefits, and can protect against risk factors for poor outcomes. If children do not have any close friendships, it could significantly impact their overall well-being by contributing to feelings of isolation and poor self-esteem. Good relationships with caregivers and positive school environments can help support a child’s social development.

What does it mean?

The majority (74%) of parents reported that their child has three or more close friends at school, while 23% reported that their child has 1-2 friends, and only 3% reported their child has no friends. Figure 1 shows the percent of children with at least one friend by neighbourhood, grouped into quartiles. While there is not a strong pattern, a cluster of neighbourhoods in the lowest quartile can be seen in north Etobicoke and western North York. Figure 2 focuses on children with no friends, and shows that on average boys are more likely than girls to have no friends, and that younger children are more likely to have no friends. Figure 3 shows that children from families with an income below $30,000 are more likely to have no friends compared to children in other income groups.

Figure 1: Percent of students with at least one close friendship, TDSB (Grades K to 6), 2012