Generation 2030

Trend S (Changing Families)

Changing Families

The 2011 Canadian census showed that the makeup of families is changing dramatically in Canada. Single-parent and blended families have increased significantly. People are also waiting longer to have children or deciding not to have children, but are taking on the roles of “aunt” or “uncle” to their friends’ children. Models of child care are also being more diverse, offering families more options for involving family, friends and community in the raising of children. As a result, the people involved in raising children, and their roles in the process, are changing and diversifying.

Possible Implications:

  • As more adults decide not to have children, kids may find that they have more non-parent adults in their lives to offer support and alternative views that help them develop and grow.

  • Kids may be more exposed to intergenerational communities and activities, as different models of families and child care emerge.

  • Kids may experience an increase in sense of belonging as diverse family structures become more normalized and visible around them.

How new is this trend?

This is regularly in the news or seen on social media. If you haven’t already heard about this, you probably will soon.



What's driving these trends?

Drivers are forces that create change. These can be things like shifting populations and demographics of an area, or cultural movements and stories that we rely on to shape how we believe. Drivers are often the “causes” behind the trends and signals we observe through our scan.


mechanistic to holistic thinking

Since the Industrial Revolution, Western society has embraced a mechanistic view of organizations and communities, breaking systems down and defining a system by its specific parts. A shift is occurring towards holistic thinking, which addresses the complexity, ambiguity and connections between elements within a system. This shift is changing the ways we understand and approach the world around us.

Increasing Population Density

Increasing population density, particularly in cities around the world, is driving many trends, both social and environmental. The growing concentration of people in many places can create resource scarcity, competition and conflict, and contribute to increased pollution levels. It can also lead to positive social outcomes and more robust economies.



Deformalization is the transition from formal structures, processes, and institutions, to informal ones. Deformalization is enabled in many cases by technology and is occurring as people question traditional views and ways of doing things.


Social inequity and the increased acknowledgement of discrimination against different groups of people is a strong driver in our present day. Inequity in Canada impacts politics, communities, health, and education.