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A new report suggests the profile of the typical Canadian family is undergoing some surprising changes.

The report by the Vanier Institute of the Family says the proportion of legally married Canadians has been falling over time, with about 48 per cent of adults married in 2006.

In 2006, almost 42 per cent of Canadians 15 and older were single, although one-third of the singles population had previously been part of a couple and were either divorced, separated or widowed.

The institute also found there are more couples without children than with children, and married couples with kids now represent a minority in all provinces and territories.

Common-law families are the fastest-growing family type, and common-law couples with children are the fastest-growing group.

Twenty years ago, 81 per cent of children under 15 were living with parents who were legally married, but by 2006 that proportion had fallen to just below 66 per cent.

In the same time-frame, the proportion of children living with common-law parents tripled to almost 15 per cent from less than five per cent.

The report, entitled Families Count, is based on information from the 2006 census, the most recent data available.