Younger families have it tougher than their parents’ generation: Researcher

Robert Hiltz, Postmedia News

Young couples across the country face a much tougher battle to raise children than their parents did — and it’s going to take a major change in social policy to close that gap, according to the author of a new study.

Paul Kershaw, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, released a study Tuesday cataloguing what he says is a marked increase in the difficulty that families have today in raising a family and scraping together a living….

In 1976, only 54 per cent of women were working, while in 2010 that figure had risen to 82 per cent. To go along with that, the previous generation of parents has seen housing prices double in the span that they’ve been homeowners, putting homes out of the reach of young couples.

This, Kershaw said, is draining not only the pocketbooks of contemporary families, but it leaves parents without any time for their children.

“It’s no longer the case that if you have a kid under the age of six that you’re likely to have an adult full-time at home, or that your household income is going to be decent enough with just one earner,” he said….

Kershaw said the country has fallen behind on its social programs and has allowed new families to be disadvantaged.

“We seem to have abandoned our proud tradition of building and adapting social policy,” he said. “Since 1970, history books make clear we’ve built very little social policy. But the world around us has changed dramatically.”

Kershaw said it will require political will and engagement from the younger generation if they are to live on the same terms as their parents.

“Our debates aren’t going there because we’re stuck in stale debates.”….