Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Is Three the New Two for Canadian Parents? Families Growing, Say Some Experts

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Is Three the New Two for Canadian Parents? Families Growing, Say Some Experts

Article excerpt

Are Canadian parents having more kids?


EDMONTON - When Jody Nickerson got married six years ago, she and her husband knew they wanted to have children and agreed on a magic number.

"We didn't want just one," says the Edmonton high school teacher, now a stay-at-home mom with three little girls.

"We just liked the three-kid family ... it's a good number."

Census figures from Statistics Canada released earlier this year show the number of Canadian children aged four and under jumped 11 per cent between 2006 and 2011. Although highest in the Prairies -- particularly Alberta, with a 20 per cent spike -- it marked the first time in 50 years that an increase was recorded in every province and territory.

Statistics Canada attributed the bump to a growing number of women aged 20 to 34 -- the preferred age range for child-rearing -- as a result of the children of baby boomers having kids of their own.

Still -- what's with all the trifectas?

Nickerson and her husband, Rhett, a business manager, both come from three-children families. His sister has three children. So do some of their friends.

"But I don't see it as being this crazy fad or trend that everybody's having three kids," says Nickerson. "I just see it in different places."

Nickerson is quick to note that most parents in her west-end neighbourhood have the typical family of two children. But at the Royal Glenora Club, one of Edmonton's most elite private sports and social clubs, most people she knows have three kids. Some, she says, even have four.

Researchers say they see family sizes growing -- likely for economic reasons.

"When families can predict and plan and budget, and they're feeling safe and secure, they tend to have more children," said Nora Spinks, CEO the Vanier Institute of the Family in Ottawa.

"When you look at upper-middle class, financially secure couples, there are more of them having three and even four. It used to be really rare to hear three and almost unheard of to have four or more.

"And yet it's coming back again."

Spinks said there's no way to know whether it's just a blip or if the bigger-family trend is sticking around. Even though she sees families that are getting larger, she doubts their numbers are large enough to register in next month's census figures. …

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