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The propensity to live alone in Canada: A longitudinal perspective

TitleThe propensity to live alone in Canada: A longitudinal perspective
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsLiu, J., Wang J., Beaujot R., and Ravanera Z.

The number of unattached individuals is increasing across developed countries. In Canada, the proportion of one person household is 27.6% in 2011, which surpasses that of couple household with children (26.5%). The aim of this study is to examine the effects of individual and community factors on the propensity to live in an unattached status in Canada by using a survival model on data gathered through panel 2 to panel 5 of the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) and the Census in 1996, 2001 and 2006. The individual information is from SLID and the community factors are from the censuses, which are linked together by the census division numbers in both SLID and Census data. The study selects those aged 35 to 54 and living unattached in the first wave of each panel, and examines what individual and community factors contribute to the change in their status in the following waves. We find that, in general, the propensity to live alone increases with time, age, and duration of being unattached. Moreover those never married are more likely to live alone in comparison to those previously partnered. As for community factors, the better the labor market situation, the lower the propensity to live alone. Furthermore, women are more likely to live alone than men; and immigrant status, health status and region have significant effects on men only. A policy implication of this study is that more social services are needed for unattached men and women at mid-life.

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