Canada's Ethnic Populations
'Among the social variables affecting intermarriage incidence and direction are group size, sex ratio, age composition, and degree and kind of intergroup contact' ( Barron 1972:11). Educational, occupational, and religious characteristics also affect the incidence and propensity for ethnic intermarriage ( Barron 1972:43). The previous chapter suggests that intergroup contact among Canada's ethnic groups was somewhat limited in the nineteenth century compared to that of the twentieth century, at least in terms of the number of distinct ethnic or cultural groups with whom an individual might come in contact. By the time of the 1971 Census, data were reported for fifty-one distinct ethnic groups compared to only eighteen for the 1871 Census. Canada's urban/rural character also changed during the century. Increasing urbanization and residential mobility have increased the amount of interaction between all segments of Canada's population and the probability of intermarriage between a variety of ethnic and socio-economic groups.
This chapter examines the characteristics of Canada's ethnic populations with a view to providing insight into their patterns of ethno-religious intermarriage in 1871 and 1971. The characteristics considered are those shown in the literature to have an effect on those patterns. Religion, for example, has been shown to reinforce ethnic ties and would therefore be expected to inhibit marital assimilation by reinforcing ethnic endogamy for most groups. High levels of occupational and educational attainment have been shown to favour intermarriage, as has an imbalance in the sex ratio (number of males per one hundred females). Age and generation are also significantly related to intermarriage ( Barron 1972:42-3; Merton 1972:15).