Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Generation Squeezed': Today's family staggering under the pressure

Date:
October 18, 2011
Source:
University of Saskatchewan
Summary:
Canadian parents today are raising families with less money and time than the Baby Boomer generation even though the country's economy has doubled in size since 1976, says a new study.

Canadian parents today are raising families with less money and time than the Baby Boomer generation even though the country's economy has doubled in size since 1976, says a new study released at the University of Saskatchewan today by Paul Kershaw, a family policy expert from the University of British Columbia.

"What we're seeing is something I call 'Generation Squeeze,'" Kershaw says. "The generation raising young kids today is squeezed for time at home, squeezed for income because of the high cost of housing, and squeezed for services like child care that would help them balance earning a living with raising a family."

Kershaw's research has been supported by the Healthy Children research team at the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU), an interdisciplinary team of population health researchers from the Universities of Saskatchewan and Regina, through their early years network, kidSKAN.

"The early years have such a dramatic impact on the rest of people's lives," says Nazeem Muhajarine, who leads the Healthy Children initiative and whose team has been working with Kershaw and his colleagues on the report. "As a society, we can either pay now -- by better supporting the generation with young children and giving their kids a better start in life -- or pay much more later by trying to deal with the effects of today's declining standard of living."

The researchers hope that releasing the study in Saskatchewan, with a provincial election underway and with its history of leadership in health policy, will help bring the issue to the forefront. The Saskatchewan-specific report is available at www.kidskan.ca/newdeal.

"Canadians in Saskatchewan led the development of our country's greatest social policy achievement -- universal access to medical care," Kershaw says. "We now need citizens to show similar policy leadership if we are to ensure Canada once again works for all generations."

Kershaw and a team of researchers at UBC's Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) have created reports for each province in Canada, comparing the costs of living, household incomes and services available to families today with those during the 1970s.

The research also exposes a troubling trend: while Generation Squeeze struggles to raise young families, retiring Baby Boomers have higher incomes and more wealth as the housing market has nearly doubled over their adult lives.

"The Occupy Wall Street movement and related protests across North America signal a growing concern about inequity between the rich and the rest," Kershaw explains. "Our pan-Canadian study shows we can only address these pressures by tackling the inherent intergenerational tension."

Kershaw and colleague Lynell Anderson found that the average household income for young Canadian couples has flat-lined since the mid-1970s (after adjusting for inflation) even though the share of young women contributing to household incomes today is up 53 per cent. While household incomes have stalled, Generation Squeeze is simultaneously struggling with the costs of living because housing prices increased 76 per cent across the country.

According to Kershaw and Anderson, the time, income and service squeeze doesn't just hurt young families. The Canadian business community pays more than $4 billion annually because work-life conflict among parents of pre-school children results in higher absenteeism, employee health insurance premiums and recruitment expenses. The squeeze also contributes to rising costs of crime, poverty, education and health care.

The study shows Canada is among the worst industrialized countries when it comes to adapting to the declining standard of living for young families.

"Canada needs a new policy to restore the standard of living for the generation raising young kids," says Kershaw, who has calculated that the policy changes required would cost $22 billion annually or 2.8 per cent of the growth Canada's economy has seen since 1976.

Kershaw has proposed policy changes, called the New Deal for Families, that include enabling mothers and fathers to stay at home with newborns until they reach at least 18 months of age, providing child care services that cost no more than $10 per day, and allowing employees and employers to use flex-time to better balance time spent at work with time spent at home.

Six provincial and territorial elections were held this October. Kershaw points out that "not one campaign engaged adequately with how Canada has become a country in which it is far harder to raise a young family."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Saskatchewan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Saskatchewan. "'Generation Squeezed': Today's family staggering under the pressure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018121843.htm>.
University of Saskatchewan. (2011, October 18). 'Generation Squeezed': Today's family staggering under the pressure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018121843.htm
University of Saskatchewan. "'Generation Squeezed': Today's family staggering under the pressure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111018121843.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hundreds in Virginia Turn out for a Free Clinic to Manage Health

Hundreds in Virginia Turn out for a Free Clinic to Manage Health

AFP (July 24, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th - prompting hundreds in Virginia to turn out for a free clinic run by “Remote Area Medical”. Duration 02:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Commercial aircraft deliveries rose seven percent at Boeing, prompting the aerospace company to boost full-year profit guidance- though quarterly revenues missed analyst estimates. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins