Majority of Manitoba parents both work

Third-highest proportion in Canada, statistics show

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Manitoba has the third-highest proportion of families with two working parents at 70.7 per cent, Statistics Canada reports.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/06/2015 (2649 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Manitoba has the third-highest proportion of families with two working parents at 70.7 per cent, Statistics Canada reports.

Saskatchewan (73.9 per cent) and Quebec (72.8 per cent) have the highest proportion of dual-earner families in Canada. Alberta has the lowest proportion of dual-earner families (65.1 per cent).

The study looked at employment patterns of families with children and compared the 2014 data with 1976.

In Canada, 69.1 per cent of families with at least one child under 16 had two working parents in 2014. That was up from 36.1 per cent in 1976.

“Whenever I see studies like this, I think they’re really important because they give us that big picture,” said associate professor Karen Duncan from the department of family social sciences at the University of Manitoba. “But they raise a lot of questions, I think, in terms of the people who are living the experience and that variety of families that are in that demographic group of being a couple with children under the age of 16.”

The study states the 70.7 per cent of families in Manitoba with two working parents is up from 39.2 per cent in 1976.

There were 2.8 million families with at least one child under 16 in 2014 and in 1976, the study showed. Among such families, the number with two parents earning income jumped to 1.9 million in 2014 from one million in 1976.

With these numbers showing more families with both parents working, Duncan said spinoff effects for families can be stress, pressure and increased responsibilities.

“We’ve got more couples in the province now who are feeling rather stressed by the challenges of balancing work and family life,” Duncan said. “We can look at it and say there’s an indication here that there are lots of families who are likely having challenges ensuring that they’re meeting all the obligations from work and from home.

“They’ve got young children, under 16, so for some, it’s finding suitable daycare. For some, it’s the challenges of parenting children through those teen years. What we don’t know from these data is how many of these families are blended families? They’re maybe balancing more family demands that way.”

She noted some families have two parents working because they are also responsible for the care of an elderly relative in addition to their own children.

The study also looked at working patterns of families with children and found in 2014, single-earner families in Canada made up 27 per cent of all families with children, down from 59 per cent in 1976.

In single-earner families, some had a working parent and a parent who was unemployed, going to school or permanently unable to work. Others had a working parent and a stay-at-home parent.

Pat Wege, executive director of the Manitoba Child Care Association, said more working parents increases the need for quality daycare.

“The study confirms what we already suspected — a majority of young parents now choose to remain attached to the workforce, and they expect affordable, quality, licensed child-care services to be there for them when they need it,” Wege said.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

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