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Study: Balancing family and work: Transition to self-employment among new mothers, 2006 to 2011

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Released: 2016-11-25

A new study shows that new mothers have a higher probability of making the transition from paid employment to self-employment than other women.

Using individuals' responses to both the 2006 Census of Population and the 2011 National Household Survey, the study examined transitions from wage and salary employment to self-employment among new mothers. These new mothers were women who did not have children under the age of six in 2006, but did so in 2011.

When a wide range of personal and family characteristics were taken into account, the study found that the probability of making the transition into self-employment between 2006 and 2011 was 1.2 percentage points higher for new mothers (5.3%) than for other women (4.1%).

After having children, average weekly hours of employment declined for new mothers who became self-employed and for those who remained in wage employment. However, those who remained in wage employment tended to be employed either just a few hours per week or almost 40 hours per week. Such clustering was not evident among new mothers who transitioned to self-employment.

For a substantial share of new mothers, the study found that the transition from paid employment to self-employment involved a change in occupations. New mothers who were paid employees in business, finance and administrative occupations in 2006 were more likely to work in a different occupation in 2011 after becoming self-employed. Conversely, over 80% of new mothers who were paid employees in health occupations in 2006 continued to work in these occupations in 2011 after becoming self-employed.


The research paper "Balancing Family and Work: Transition to Self-employment Among New Mothers," part of the Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series (Catalogue number11F0019M), is now available.

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