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

Earnings growth, shifting benefits for single mothers

Growth in earnings has outpaced increases in total income for single mothers, so employment is representing a growing share of their income. In fact, in 2005, earnings accounted for 69.2% of their income, a record high, up from 67.8% in 2000.

Despite this growth in earnings, some government transfer payments to lone-parent mothers also increased. Between 2000 and 2005, average child benefits increased by almost $500. As a result, single mothers were receiving twice as much from child benefits in 2005 ($2,954) as they were from the family allowances and child tax credits in 1980 ($1,447).

The trends for single fathers were similar, but reflected weaker growth in employment. As such, the proportion of their income from employment inched down from 79.0% in 2000 to 78.9% in 2005. This was still well below the high of 83.7% registered in 1980.

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