Saturday, September 22, 2007

Statistics and Hysteria

I was just reading this analysis from Stats Canada which suggests our family demographics are changing.

Regarding gay couples:

Half of all same-sex couples in Canada lived in the three largest census metropolitan areas, Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver, in 2006. Toronto accounted for 21.2% of all same-sex couples, Montréal, 18.4% and Vancouver, 10.3%.

In 2006, same-sex couples represented 0.6% of all couples in Canada. This is comparable to data from New Zealand (0.7%) and Australia (0.6%).

Over half (53.7%) of same-sex married spouses were men in 2006, compared with 46.3% who were women.

Regarding one person households:

During this time, the number of one-person households increased 11.8%, more than twice as fast as the 5.3% increase for the total population in private households. At the same time, the number of households consisting of couples without children aged 24 years and under increased 11.2% since 2001.

On legally married versus single or common-law:

Unmarried people outnumber legally married people for the first time

For the first time, the census enumerated more unmarried people aged 15 and over than legally married people.

In 2006, more than one-half (51.5%) of the adult population were unmarried, that is, never married, divorced, separated or widowed, compared with 49.9% five years earlier. Conversely, only 48.5% of persons aged 15 and over were legally married in 2006, down from 50.1% in 2001.

These results are based on the 2006 census, which compiled the responses of almost 9 million Canadians. But not me, I was just cleaning house and found my completed but never submitted form. All the census people probably know me by now as that recalcitrant thwarter of statistics gathering. You could make a movie about it with Reese Witherspoon and that guy from Ferris Bueller's day off and it would be quite funny.

Anyway, I was about to head off to the club when Baldrick came in and breathlessly told me I must read the latest vomitous screed from the Calgary Sun.

Apparently the broader trends are not holding in Calgary, and as a result the Calgary Sun had to diatribe about how much better we are than other Canadians, to quote:

Calgary is holding the fort in a country where the notion of the traditional family is increasingly under siege, states a federal census.

Holding the fort? Against whom? The enemy? What is the traditional family and who is sieging it? These military metaphors are red flags for plain old fashioned bigotry.

States a federal census? Huh? That has to be the most poorly written most mendacious pukey line I think I have ever read in a newspaper. It is absolutely disgraceful to mingle your bigotry in with someone else's headline and make it seem like they're a bigot as well.

But that's our Calgary Sun, defending us tirelessly against statistics, trends, facts and ideas. Please recommend this post

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