The Evolution of Welfare Participation Among Canadian Lone Mothers From 1973 1991
The objective of this paper is to analyse changes in the welfare participation of Canadian lone mothers between 1973 and 1991. Lone mothers under age 35 do show an increasing reliance on SA income accompanied by stagnant wages and declining levels of market work and earnings. In contrast, lone mothers age 35 and over exhibit a declining reliance on SA income accompanied by rising levels of market work, wages and earnings income. Estimates of a simple economicdemographic probit model of welfare participation are both consistent with theoretical expectations and capable of accounting for a large portion of the very different observed trends for older and younger lone mothers. Much of the declining welfare use among older lone mothers can be explained by decreasing family size, increasing education and market wages which grew at the same rate as welfare benefits. Much of the rising welfare use among younger lone mothers can be explained by a decline in wages relative to welfare benefits accompanied by a mixed pattern of demographic change for this age group. Among younger lone mothers, modest declines in family size and increases in schooling were offset by a large increase in the proportion never married.
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