While mothers in Canada have always played a central role in family life, there’s no question that the social, economic, cultural and environmental contexts that shape – and are shaped by – motherhood have evolved over time.
A growing share of mothers are managing paid work and family responsibilities compared with previous generations, and the dynamic relationships between women, work and family continue to evolve. To explore these relationships through a broader lens, we’ve created a 50-year timeline for Mother’s Day 2016 that explores some of the long-term trends over the past half century, including:
- An increase in women’s participation in the paid labour force, which has grown from 40% in 1968 to 82% in 2014 for those aged 25 to 54
- A growing share of “breadwinning” moms among single-earner couple families, which has steadily increased from 4% of earners in these families in 1976 to 21% in 2014
- A significant drop in the low-income rate among single mothers, which has fallen from 54% in 1976 to 21% in 2008
- A declining fertility rate, which stood at 3.94 women per children in 1959 during the peak of the baby boom, but has since dropped to 1.61 in 2011
- A continually rising average age of first-time mothers, up from 24.3 years of age in 1974 to 28.5 in 2011
- A greater amount of time mothers are spending with family, with women reporting 421 minutes (7 hours) per day with family in 2010, up from 403 minutes (6.7 hours) in 1986
This bilingual resource is a perpetual publication, and it will be updated periodically as new data emerges. Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to find out about updates, as well as other news about publications, projects and initiatives from the Vanier Institute.
Enjoy our new timeline, and happy Mother’s Day to Canada’s 9.8 million moms!
Families and Work in Canada, by Nora Spinks and Nathan Battams