Perspectives on Labour and Income

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May 2011

Measuring voluntary interhousehold transfers in Canada

Abstract: Some households provide money, goods and services directly to help other households: these interhousehold transfers add up to a sizeable flow of economic resources between households. While measured by Statistics Canada surveys, voluntary interhousehold transfers are not included in the recipient household's total income. This article examines the conceptual and measurement issues related to voluntary interhousehold transfers, and provides a profile of voluntary interhousehold transfers in Canada. It uses recent data on interhousehold transfers from income, expenditure and wealth surveys.

Work absences in 2010

Abstract: This overview presents data on absences from work for personal reasons (illness or disability and personal or family responsibilities) by various demographic and labour market characteristics, using data from the Labour Force Survey. Only full-time employees have been considered in this analysis.

April 2011

Retiring with debt

Abstract: It is often assumed that over the life course most older workers will pay off their debts and save for retirement. However, research from the United States suggests that an increasing number of seniors who are in pre-retirement or are retired are now struggling with debt. This article uses the 2009 Canadian Financial Capability Survey to look at the proportion, type and level of debt among Canadian retirees age 55 and over. It examines the socio-economic and demographic factors influencing the likelihood of carrying any debt in retirement. The financial circumstances of indebted retirees are also examined, including three indicators of financial security.

The distribution of mortgage debt in Canada

Abstract: Mortgages consistently account for two-thirds of Canadians' household debt. This study uses the Survey of Household Spending to examine the characteristics of mortgagees and the size of their payments. It focuses on mortgage payments expressed as a percentage of disposable income—the mortgage-liability ratio. This analysis highlights differences in personal characteristics, and spending and saving patterns among households with higher and lower mortgage-liability ratios.

March 2011

Consumption patterns among aging Canadians

Abstract: Previous studies of older Canadians' well-being have focused on changes in income as individuals age and leave the workforce. However, little has been published on the extent to which consumption levels change in this transitional period. This study uses data from the Survey of Family Expenditures and the Survey of Household Spending to develop a synthetic cohort approach to determine how the consumption patterns of households headed by those born in the late 1930s changed from middle age (in the early 1980s) to retirement (in the late 2000s).

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