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July 2002     Vol. 3, no. 7

Families on the financial edge

René Morissette

  • The proportion of individuals in families with low income and little financial wealth remained virtually unchanged between the mid-1980s and the late 1990s.
  • However, some groups, such as recent immigrants, became more financially vulnerable to income interruptions and unexpected expenses. Others-specifically, elderly unattached individuals-improved their economic position.
  • In 1999, the vast majority of low-income families had no more savings to protect themselves against adverse events than did their counterparts in the mid-1980s.
  • In 1999, the most vulnerable families by far were prime-aged (25 to 54) families of two or more persons with no earner. Only one-third of persons in these families had a major income recipient with a long-term work limitation or disability. Of the remaining prime-aged families with no earner, almost two-thirds had a major income recipient with at most a high school diploma or some postsecondary education.


René Morissette is with the Business and Labour Market Analysis Division. He can be reached at (613) 951-3608 or

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