Last Updated: June 9, 2017

Syrian refugees across Canada – by family size

While not directly relevant to issues of employment among Syrian refugees in Canada, some data has been reported on family sizes. This in turn helps us to estimate the number of private sponsor groups.

 

An analysis of Syrian refugees who had settled across Canada by the end of December, 2016, was published in The Globe & Mail on January 5, 2017: Syrian exodus to Canada: One year later, a look at who the refugees are and where they went.

 

The tables published with the story, using data supplied by the Government of Canada, were based upon a database of only 12,378 of the 35,147 refugees who had been settled in Canada as of the story writing. Of particular note is that 21.8% of the PSRs represented single person families or households. This percentage could include a single parent, grandparent, or other unmarried relative of Syrians already in Canada, as well as a younger, unmarried individual or someone who had left a spouse and children behind.

 

One estimate that we have heard is that 40% of those classified as constituting a single person household are 18+ years old, but are still dependent on their parents, with whom they arrived in Canada, and were not counted as part of their parents’ families, because of being aged 18 or over.
Cross-Canada profile of Syrian refugees by immigration category and family size – end of 2016

(Source: The Globe & Mail, January 5, 2017)

Family Size Gov’t-assisted individuals Privately sponsored individuals BVOR individuals Total
1            172 2.55%         900 21.80%           70 4.64%      1,142
2            140 2.08%         466 11.29%           26 1.72%         632
3            252 3.74%         696 16.86%           78 5.17%      1,026
4         1,056 15.66%      1,224 29.65%         236 15.65%      2,516
5         1,360 20.17%         525 12.72%         390 25.86%      2,275
6         1,536 22.78%         216 5.23%         378 25.07%      2,130
7         1,001 14.85%           84 2.03%         133 8.82%      1,218
8+         1,225 18.17%           17 0.41%         197 13.06%      1,439
 Total           6,742 100.00%        4,128 100.00%        1,508 100.00%      12,378
54.5% 33.3% 12.2% 100%

 

Based upon the above distribution of individuals by refugee category and family size, we can estimate the number of family units for which private sponsors have been assigned across Canada. For example. 1,224 individuals in the PSR category belonging to families of four, represent 306 privately-sponsored families, as shown in the table below. (We have used a family size of eight for the category of “8+” family size, as the numbers are very small in the PSR and BVOR categories.) For the total sample of 5,636 PSRs and BVORs analyzed in The Globe and Mail story, this translates into 2,179 families. Extending these results to the actual number of PSRs and BVORs across Canada as of the end of 2016, suggests that 7,126 families (ranging in size each from one individual to eight or more) were affiliated with private sponsors.

 

Family Size No. of PSR families No. of BVOR families Total PSR and BVOR families
1 900 70 970
2 233 13 246
3 232 26 258
4 306 59 365
5 105 78 183
6 36 63 99
7 12 19 31
8+ 2 25 27
Est. total no. of Syrian refugee families across Canada, based upon The Globe & Mail sample of 12,378 refugees 1,826 353 2,179
Multiply by a factor of 3.2 (Actual no. of Syrian refugees in category as of Jan 2/17 divided by category sample size in The Globe & Mail article) 3.4 2.6 3.3
Estimated total no. of Syrian refugee families across Canada at end of 2016/start of 2017 6,209 917 7,126

 

For further discussion of the number of private sponsor groups, see our separate article: Private Sponsorship of Syrian Refugees in the GTA.