The marriage gap between rich and poor Canadians

How Canadians are split into haves and have-nots along marriage lines

February 25, 2014  |  by Peter Jon Mitchell and Philip Cross

The IMFC has done the first ever analysis of Statistics Canada data examining the link between marriage and income in Canada.

It turns out that there’s a huge “marriage gap” – the wealthy are mostly married/common-law, and the poor are mostly unattached.

Everyone is concerned about inequality in Canada, but the connection to marriage is rarely discussed.

We invite you to view the video below and share it with others. The marriage gap between rich and poor Canadians has been largely unknown until now, but it is worth discussing.

The full report is available below. We’d like to thank Stronger Together for the grant that made this research possible.

Executive Summary

Our analysis shows that marriage in Canada, to an astonishing degree, is linked to income. The wealthiest Canadians are very likely to be married, while the lowest income earners are very likely to be unmarried. This is a concern since marriage itself is a powerful wealth creator.

The share of married families has declined since 1976. It dropped more amongst the middle class and low income earners, causing the marriage gap to widen. However, an unexpected turning point occurred in 1998 as the marriage decline began to level off. A small dip in the number of formally married couples since then has been offset by a growth in common-law couples.

The marriage gap between rich and poor remains very large, worthy of serious consideration by policymakers.


The Canadian Marriage Gap - full report
The Canadian Marriage Gap - two page summary
The Canadian Marriage Gap - in the news

Permission is granted to reprint or broadcast this information with appropriate attribution to the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.

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