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Immigrant Women In Canada Less Likely To Divorce, Says Report

By cvf, 03/19/2024


Canadian-born women are almost twice as likely to divorce their husbands or common-law partners as are immigrant women, reveals Statistics Canada.

In their report, The Duration Of First Unions: A Comparative Analysis Between Landed Immigrants And Canadian-Born Individuals, researchers Clémence Zossou and Solène Lardoux report using data from 2017 that landed immigrant women split up with their first husbands or common-law partners 24 per cent of the time.

Canadian-born women, by comparison, split up with their first husbands or common-law partners 43 per cent of the time. 

The relatively greater commitment of immigrants to their marriages and common-law relationships also appears to be growing, with younger generations of immigrants having a lower rate of divorce.

“Among younger generations (those born from 1965 to 1997), union dissolution was more than twice as common among Canadian-born individuals, at 40 per cent, than among landed immigrants at 18 per cent,” reports Statistics Canada.


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Perhaps unsurprisingly, immigrants in Canada are therefore also less likely to remarry or enter into a second common-law relationship.

“According to data from the General Social Survey (GSS) – Family, in 2017, Canadian-born individuals, at 31 per cent, were more likely than those born outside the country, at 13 per cent, to enter a second or subsequent union,” notes the report from the statistical and demographic services agency.

In Canada, 36 per cent of first-time marriages and common-law relationships ended with the spouses splitting up in 2017.

“For the population as a whole, union dissolution was more common among those in the Baby Boom generation, born from 1945 to 1964, at 40 per cent, compared with those in previous cohorts (1917 to 1944) at 31 per cent and those in younger cohorts (1965 to 1997) at 34 per cent,” reports Statistics Canada.

First-time, common-law relationships are just under three times as likely, at 65 per cent, to result with the two partners splitting up as are first-time marriages, which had a divorce rate of 24 per cent in 2017.

As might be expected, having children tends to lower the likelihood of the couple splitting up.

Children Can Be Glue Holding Families Together

“Union dissolution was less common among individuals who became parents during their first union, at 26 per cent, than among those who did not, at 59 per cent,” notes Statistics Canada. “This difference was more pronounced among landed immigrants than among Canadian-born individuals.”

Higher education also seems to be strongly correlated with people sticking out their marriages or common-law relationships.

“Data from the 2017 GSS also show that individuals with an educational attainment below a bachelor’s degree, at 40 per cent, were more likely to have experienced the dissolution of their first union than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, at 28 per cent.,” note the researchers.

“This pattern by level of educational attainment were similar between Canadian-born individuals and landed immigrants.”


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Immigrants who had married prior to settling in Canada – and those whose parents had never divorced – were also much more likely to remain married or in their common-law relationships once they immigrated.

“Union dissolution was 1.5 times more common among individuals whose parents had separated or divorced, at 49 per cent, compared with those whose parents were still together, at 32 per cent,” reports Statistics Canada.

“Finally, among landed immigrants, first union dissolution was less common for individuals whose union was ongoing at the time of immigration, at 13 per cent, than for those whose first union began after they arrived in Canada, at 26 per cent. 

Canadian Residents Or Permanent Residents Can Sponsor Spouses For Immigration

“Furthermore, the prevalence of union dissolution increases with the number of years since immigrants arrived in the country.”

Through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) spousal sponsorship program, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor a spouse or common-law partner to immigrate to Canada.

The sponsor must, however, sign an undertaking, promising to give financial support for the sponsored person’s basic needs, including:

  • food, clothing, shelter and their needs for everyday living, and;
  • dental care, eye care and other health needs not covered by public health services.

This agreement cannot be cancelled, even if:

  • the person sponsored becomes a Canadian citizen;
  • the couple divorces, separates or the relationship breaks down;
  • either the sponsor or the sponsored spouse or common-law partner moves to another province or country, or;
  • the sponsor experiences financial problems.

EI payments are considered income for sponsor of spouse

Maternity, parental and sickness benefits paid under the Employment Insurance Act in Canada are all considered income and contribute to allowing a person to sponsor a spouse or common-law partner but other payments from the government, such as employment insurance and federal training allowances, are not considered income.

On its website, IRCC provides estimates of the current processing times for various types of applications, including spousal sponsorships.

According to that website, the current processing time for sponsorship applications for spouses or common-law partners currently outside the country and planning to live outside of Quebec is now down to 12 months, a considerable improvement over the 20-month processing time in 2022.

That estimated processing time includes:

  • the time needed to provide biometrics;
  • the assessment of the sponsor and the person being sponsored, and;
  • the time immigration officials need to ensure the sponsor and his or her spouse or common-law partner meet the eligibility requirements.

The post Immigrant Women In Canada Less Likely To Divorce, Says Report appeared first on Canada Immigration and Visa Information. Canadian Immigration Services and Free Online Evaluation..

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