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Widowhood and Retirement: Women on the Margin


  • Lynn McDonald
  • Peter Donahue
  • Brooke Moore


This study documents (1) the income situation of retired widows, (2) the strategies they use to cope with reduced levels of income, and (3) the effects of reduced income on their health and well-being. A major finding (based on analysis of the Survey of Ageing and Independence) is that almost half of retired widows live below Statistics Canada's low income cut-off. The views of widows on their low socioeconomic status are explored in 40 in-depth interviews. The study then proceeds (4) to highlight the policy implications of the findings in light of the proposed new Seniors Benefit and the proposed changes to the CPP/QPP.

Suggested Citation

  • Lynn McDonald & Peter Donahue & Brooke Moore, 1997. "Widowhood and Retirement: Women on the Margin," Independence and Economic Security of the Older Population Research Papers 17, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:iesopp:17

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    Cited by:

    1. Lynn McDonald & A. Leslie Robb, 2003. "The Economic Legacy of Divorced and Separated Women in Old Age," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 104, McMaster University.

    More about this item


    retirement; widow; low income;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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