Military Monday: War Bride Survivor and Descendant Estimates

The brides of Second World War Canadian servicemen who came to Canada, mainly in 1946, numbered 43,454. Reading their obituaries, you are impressed with how they became a significant part of Canada’s postwar landscape, shaping our social and cultural fabric. Sadly, their era is coming to a close.

This post is an update and extension of one in March 2020
where I estimated the median age of war brides as 24 when they arrived. A few were much older, some younger.

In 2016, I estimated 5,500 survivors. In 2020 , a range of 1,000 to 1,800 living war brides with media age 98.

A sample of 50 obits published in Canadian newspapers as late as 2023 confirms the median birth year remains 1922.

The number of survivors depends strongly on the age distribution of the initial cohort, particularly those who were the youngest.  That has never been released. Based on a Canadian life table for females born in 1921, my estimate is there are no more than two hundred war bride survivors in 2024.

The median number of children born to each war bride mentioned in the 50 obits is three, ranging from zero to seven.

The median number of grandchildren is six, ranging from zero to 15. Six of the war brides had ten or more grandchildren. On average each war bride child had two children, about the same as the population at large.

The median number of great-grandchildren mentioned is nine, they are still being born.

This post estimated the number of their descendants “in round figures, 2%, probably less, of Canada’s population in 2020 are WW2 war brides and their descendants.” Given that immigrants now outnumber births in Canada, and the calculation does not account for those who do not live in Canada, 2% remains a reasonable estimate, certainly not ten percent as was at one time claimed.

3 Replies to “Military Monday: War Bride Survivor and Descendant Estimates”

  1. My Aunt was a War Bride and the reason my parents moved to Canada. They wanted to move to somewhere where there was family.

    I tried zooming in on the picture on my iPhone and for some reason, it badly distorts the faces. I wonder if some photo tool was used to enhance the overall picture that causes this? It looks fine when I look at it at the presented size.

  2. My husband’s grandmother was a war bride, though she arrived in 1944 (appearing in the Vancouver Sun!). She had three children, six grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Sadly, my husband and I weren’t able to add to the count of the great-grandchildren.

    I was very close to Isabel and loved hearing her stories – she’s been gone for 20 years now.

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