Trajectories to living alone at midlife in Canada: a comparison by gender and over time

Zenaida R. Ravanera, University of Western Ontario
Fernando Rajulton, University of Western Ontario
Roderic Beaujot, University of Western Ontario

Living alone is on the rise in Canada and in other Western countries. In Canada, five population groups are identified as having greater risk of poverty: lone parents, unattached persons aged 45-64, recent immigrants, persons with work-limiting disabilities, and Aboriginal populations. This study focuses on men and women aged 45 to 64 living alone, who according to the 2011 Census of Canada are about 1.4 million. Using the 1995 and 2007 General Social Surveys (GSS), we examine the changes in living alone that have occurred over this period. With the information on 6 family life events – cohabitation, marriage, birth of a child, separation, divorce, and widowhood – we derive the types of pathways to solo living of men and women, and compare the distributions over the two periods. Having established the trend, we use the more current data from the 2007 GSS to examine the demographic, cultural, and socio-economic profiles of men and women living alone in comparison to those living with someone to validate whether indeed at mid-life, persons who are living alone are more vulnerable to poverty. We then focus on persons living alone to examine by pathway types to solo living the differences in social and economic profiles, their social networks, and their well-being.

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Presented in Poster Session 2