by Rex Wockner
There are a lot more gay Canadians than there used to be. Or maybe not. Perhaps the census has gotten better at counting them, and gays are getting better about coming out to the government.
Newly released data from the 2006 census shows 45,345 same-sex couples nationwide, a 32.6 percent jump from 2001. But the figures are still far from complete, as the couples amount to only 0.6 percent of total Canadian couples.
Half of the couples who came out to census takers lived in Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver.
Of the couples counted, 7,465 have gotten married since Canadian provinces began legalizing same-sex marriage in 2003. It was legalized nationally in 2005. Records from the provinces show that 12,438 marriage licenses had been issued to Canadian same-sex couples as of summer 2006.
Officials say they realize their tally of gay couples is an undercount, in part because the effort to count them was newly formulated and because the census forms lacked clarity. In the U.S., a census count of gay couples jumped 300 percent from 1990 to 2000. In Australia, it doubled from 1996 to 2001.
Of the married same-sex couples counted in the Canadian census, 53.7 percent were male couples and 46.3 percent female. Sixteen percent of female couples had children living with them, as did 3 percent of male couples.