A Comparison of Rural and Urban Workers Living in Low-Income
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By Myriam Fortin, Human Resources and Social Development Canada
- In both rural and urban areas, the share of workers living in low-income families is similar. However, the characteristics of low-income workers differ between rural and urban areas.
- Being the sole earner in the family is the main factor associated with living in low-income for rural and urban workers in Canada. The incidence of living in a low-income family is higher among the self-employed in rural areas and higher among the low-paid in urban areas. Living in Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba or working in primary industries increased the risk of living in a low-income family for rural citizens.
- The rural and urban working poor spent, on average, half of their time in low-income over the five-year period from 2000 to 2004.
- A change in family composition or an increase in the earnings of other family members are central in explaining the exit from low-income for both the rural and urban working poor.
- Being self-employed or working many hours per year are permanent experiences for many rural working poor.
- For the working poor, moving from a rural area to an urban centre appears to improve economic outcomes. The reverse does not seem to be true.
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