Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The struggle for Canadian single parents

New census data for Canada shows that the number of single parents jumped eight percent over the last five years.  Evidence suggests that many of them live just above the poverty level for the country. Despite earning an honest wage, many single parents are finding it hard to climb the income ladder due to the increasing gap between rich and poor.

From Metro News Canada, writer Micheal Tutton meets a few of the single parents living in a homeless shelter in New Brunswick.

“It’s not about you any more,” Young said, Striker happily playing nearby. “It’s all about your child and the good decisions you have to make for them.”
First Steps, a centre for homeless, single mothers, is a safe haven, a daycare and and a provider of in-house high school education to the dozen women currently living there.
For Young, the converted convent next to a city hospital seems like “a mansion” compared to the squalor of her old neighbourhood, where many of Saint John’s lone-parent families continue to live.
“There were stabbings,” she recalled. “You would find syringes in the street, crack pipes and stuff like that.”
Lone-parent families represented 16.3 per cent of all census families in 2011, nearly twice the percentage of 1961, before the advent of 1968′s Divorce Act and a steadily growing proportion of parents who never got married in the first place.
In 1961, roughly two-thirds of lone parents were widowed, and the rest were either divorced or separated, with a small percentage never having been married. Since then, the proportions have changed dramatically: half are either divorced or separated, while the ranks of those going it alone from the outset have grown tenfold.

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