IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Evolution of Elderly Poverty in Canada


  • Kevin Milligan


In this article, I extend the analysis of head-count measures of income and consumption poverty to all currently available microdata. Along with standard measures, I implement a relative poverty indicator using the well-being of working age families as a benchmark. I find that poverty among elderly families decreased sharply through the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s, relative measures of income poverty increased because non-elderly incomes have risen more quickly than elderly incomes. Since the 1980s, a sharp spike in income poverty has emerged between the ages of 55 and 64, with no counterpart in the consumption data.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Milligan, 2008. "The Evolution of Elderly Poverty in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 34(s1), pages 79-94, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:34:y:2008:i:s1:p:79-94

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin S. Milligan, 2009. "Retirement Income Security and Well-Being in Canada," NBER Working Papers 14667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Kevin Milligan, 2005. "Life-cycle asset accumulation and allocation in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 1057-1106, August.
    3. Thomas F. Crossley & Krishna Pendakur, 2002. "Consumption Inequality," Department of Economics Working Papers 2002-09, McMaster University.
    4. Marc Frenette & David A. Green & Kevin Milligan, 2007. "The tale of the tails: Canadian income inequality in the 1980s and 1990s," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(3), pages 734-764, August.
    5. Lars Osberg, 2001. "Poverty Among Senior Citizens: A Canadian Success Story," The State of Economics in Canada: Festschrift in Honour of David Slater,in: Patrick Grady & Andrew Sharpe (ed.), The State of Economics in Canada: Festschrift in Honour of David Slater, pages 151-181 Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    6. Thomas F. Crossley & Lori J. Curtis, 2006. "Child Poverty In Canada," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(2), pages 237-260, June.
    7. Agneta Stark & Nancy Folbre & Lois Shaw & Timothy Smeeding & Susanna Sandstrom & Lois Shaw & Sunhwa Lee & Kyunghee Chung, 2005. "Poverty And Income Maintenance In Old Age: A Cross-National View Of Low Income Older Women / Growing Old In The Us: Gender And Income Adequacy / Gender And Aging In South Korea," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 163-197.
    8. Johnson, Paul & Stears, Gary, 1998. "Why Are Older Pensioners Poorer?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(3), pages 271-290, August.
    9. Krishna Pendakur, 2001. "Consumption Poverty in Canada, 1969 to 1998," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 27(2), pages 125-149, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Kees Goudswaard & Olaf van Vliet & Jim Been & Koen Caminada, 2012. "Pensions and Income Inequality in Old Age," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(4), pages 21-26, December.
    2. Marchand, J. & Smeeding, T., 2016. "Poverty and Aging," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, Elsevier.
      • Marchand, Joseph & Smeeding, Timothy, 2016. "Poverty and Aging," Working Papers 2016-11, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 20 Nov 2016.
    3. repec:ces:ifodic:v:10:y:2012:i:4:p:19074538 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. McDonald, James Ted & Worswick, Christopher, 2013. "Retirement Incomes, Labour Supply and Co-residency Decisions of Older Immigrants in Canada: 1991-2006," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-23, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 29 Apr 2013.
    5. Michael R. Veall, 2007. "Which Canadian Seniors Are Below the Low-Income Measure?," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 186, McMaster University.
    6. Anders, Sven M., 2010. "Ageing And Consumption – The Impact Of Demographic Change On Food Expenditure Patterns," 115th Joint EAAE/AAEA Seminar, September 15-17, 2010, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany 116442, European Association of Agricultural Economists;Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    7. Brewer, Mike & O'Dea, Cormac, 2012. "Measuring living standards with income and consumption: evidence from the UK," ISER Working Paper Series 2012-05, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    8. Filgueira, Fernando & Manzi, Pilar, 2017. "Pension and income transfers for old age: Inter- and intra-generational distribution in comparative perspective," Políticas Sociales 225, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    9. Bibi, Sami & Duclos, Jean-Yves, 2010. "Y a-t-il plus de pauvreté au Québec qu’au Canada?," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 86(3), pages 277-318, septembre.
    10. Milligan, Kevin, 2014. "How is economic hardship avoided by those retiring before the Social Security entitlement age?," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(04), pages 420-438, October.
    11. Michael R. Veall, 2008. "Canadian Seniors and the Low Income Measure," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 34(s1), pages 47-58, November.
    12. Milligan, Kevin, 2013. "Employer-provided pensions, incomes, and hardship in early transitions to retirement," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-24, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 29 Apr 2013.
    13. Van Vliet, Olaf & Been, Jim & Caminada, Koen & Goudswaard, Kees, 2011. "Pension reform and income inequality among the elderly in 15 European countries," MPRA Paper 32940, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Mike Brewer & Cormac O'Dea, 2012. "Measuring living standards with income and consumption: evidence from the UK," IFS Working Papers W12/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:34:y:2008:i:s1:p:79-94. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Prof. Werner Antweiler). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.