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Earnings and Incomes of Canadians Over the Past Quarter Century, 2006 Census: Family earnings

Rising share of families with two full-time full-year earners

One of the trends pushing up family earnings among couples with children has been a steady increase in the share of these families in which two persons or more worked full time, for the full year. Between 1980 and 2005, the proportion of these families in which two persons or more worked full time full year nearly doubled, from 21.5% to 38.4%.

Couple families with children in which two persons or more worked full time full year earned 82.1% more than couple families in which only one person worked full time full year. Another factor that helped boost the earnings of families in this group was an increase in the proportion of which both partners had a university degree. This proportion rose from 4.0% in 1980 to 15.3% in 2005.

At the same time, the family earnings of female lone-parent families have increased, partly due to a steady rise in educational attainment of lone mothers, as well as a steady rise in the share of lone‑mother families where at least one person works full time full year. By 2006, 15.9% of lone mothers had a university degree, and 56.4% of lone‑mother families had at least one person working full time full year. (These trends are among lone‑mother families where at least one person worked. About 4.1% of these families had no member working at all in 2005, up from 2.8% in 2000.)

This increase in the difference in earnings between high and low earning families was also observed within many family types. For example, median earnings in the top one-fifth of families consisting of a couple with children rose by 7.0% between 2000 and 2005. At the same time, median earnings among their counterparts in the bottom quintile rose slightly by 0.7%.

Table 10
Median earnings, in 2005 constant dollars, of economic families by family type and family employment status, Canada, 1980 to 2005

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