In 2006, the number of lone-parent families headed by women increased by 84.7% from 25 years earlier, to reach the one-million mark for the first time.
The 2006 Census also showed that 248,900 lone-parent families were headed by men, more than double (+110%) the number in 1981.
Census data showed that the income gap between these two types of families narrowed slightly during the past 25 years.
The median income for lone-parent mothers in 2005 amounted to $36,765, still the lowest of all the major economic family types. However, this was 26.4% higher than it was in 1980.
In contrast, the median income for lone-parent fathers declined 4.1% during this 25-year period, to $51,974 in 2005, narrowing the gap with their female counterparts.
Median total income, in 2005 constant dollars, of lone-parent families, Canada, 1980 to 2005
On the other hand, the gap in median incomes between couples with children and male lone‑parent families increased substantially. For every $100 in income received by couples with children in 1980, male lone-parent families received $79. By 2005, this sum had declined to $62.
Among lone-parent families headed by women, the gap was larger and had shifted only slightly over the past 25 years. For every $100 in income received by couples with children in 1980, female lone-parent families got only $43; by 2005, they were receiving $44.