Linking Family Change, Parents' Employment and Income and Children's Economic Well-Being: A Longitudinal Perspective


  • [1] For more information, consult the Human Resources Development Canada/Statistics Canada publication National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth: Overview of Survey Instruments for 1996-97 Data Collection—Cycle 2, Catalogue no. 89FOO78XPE.

  • [2] For children in shared custody, the family income is given for the family of the “person most knowledgeable” about the child; about three quarters were lone parents (half were mothers, one quarter fathers) and the others were mothers or fathers living in a stepfamily.

  • [3] Income levels for lone parents may be slightly underestimated. A small percentage of lone parents who reported receiving regular child support payments did not declare “child support payments” among the “income sources”. Recent changes making the “payor” liable for income tax on child support payments may have contributed to the perception that child support payments are not strictly “income”; as a result, it is possible that these parents did not include the amount when declaring their level of income.

  • [4] In other words, no child is counted as belonging to both a lone-father and a lone-mother family.

  • [5] The data used relate to the income of the household in which the child lived. As most households contain a single family unit, in this report the terms “household income” and “family income” are used interchangeably.

  • [6] Anyone interested in more detailed information on this analysis should contact the authors.

  • [7] A small proportion of children (4 percent) whose parents were together again at Cycle 2 are not included in the following analysis.

  • [8] The direction of change is obviously linked to the type of arrangements already in place at Cycle 1. Any change in the frequency of contact for children in the “no contact” category, for instance, can only be towards more contact.

  • [9] Information on income sources, however, provides an indication of the minimum proportion of mothers with an agreement in process, or without an agreement, who received some income in the form of child support payments at the time of the survey. It does not include the regularity of these payments.

  • [10] These proportions represent a lower limit, since not all mothers consider child support payments a part of their income. A sizeable minority of mothers declaring regular child support payments in the custody section did not report “child support” as a source of income.

  • [11] These distributions are therefore not the same as those in Figure 9, which included all children in the sample.

  • [12] Certain changes, particularly those in and out of “no agreement” or “agreement in progress”, do not necessarily mean a change in child support payments.

  • [13] Problems currently emerging with these data may reduce their usefulness, however.

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