Slightly more than half of Canadians say marriage is simply not necessary

A wide-ranging new public opinion poll from the Angus Reid Institute finds people in Canada decidedly lukewarm on marriage.

Fewer than half (47%) say it is important to them that a couple that plans to spend the rest of their lives together get legally married. Slightly more than half (53%) say “marriage is simply not necessary.”

That said, a majority are of the view that getting hitched is “a more genuine form of commitment” than living in a common-law relationship.

These shifting views on the role of marriage in Canadian society are reflected in respondents’ reporting on their own marital status. Nearly three-quarters of 18-34-year-olds (73%) have never been married, and one-in-six in this group say they’re not particularly inclined to, ever.


More Key Findings:

  • Age has a significant influence on Canadians’ experiences with marriage – whether they’ve been married, whether the ceremony was civil or religious, etc. – but a less pronounced effect on opinions about marriage as an institution
  • On the topic of religion, Canadians reject the notion that a religious wedding is more ‘legitimate’ than a civil one (76% disagree with a statement to this effect), but most of those who have walked down the aisle in their lives did so at a religious service
  • In general, Canadians favour treating marriages and common-law relationships identically when it comes to taxation and assets, with majorities saying those who legally marry should not get extra tax benefits (59% say this) and that those in common-law relationships should divide assets equally when the relationship ends (58% say this)