Population Change and Lifecourse

2010 Archives - Cluster members in the Media

October - December

Fall 2010 - SSHRC Dialogue
Interview - Perspectives on the family

Rod Beaujot was interviewed in Dialogue's issue on Perspectives on the family

"What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in Canadian families over the years?
Looking back over the last half century, families have become far more diverse—and Canadians have become more accepting of diversity. By diversity I mean things like cohabitation, lone parent families and same-sex couples. Families are also more diverse in their work patterns, with fewer male breadwinner families today than in the past." ...

Fall 2010 - SSHRC Dialogue
Field notes: Families

“The increased number of separations and the popularity—more so in Quebec—of common-law unions have led to drastic changes in the traditional family model. New partners, step-parents, step-children, half-brothers or half-sisters expand the family network, but will these relationships be strong enough to ensure that everyone receives the support they need? The answer to this question will have a major impact on the most vulnerable people: children and seniors.” —Céline Le Bourdais, Sociology, McGill University and Évelyne Lapierre-Adamcyk, Demography, Université de Montréal

“For many decades, Canada’s low fertility rate has accelerated the aging of our population. To counter this trend, governments must understand why young Canadians couples choose to have children and how public policies can help. We’ve found, for example, that the decision to have a first child depends on the socioeconomic situation of the mother—mainly whether or not she holds a permanent job and is entitled to maternity leave. On the contrary, the decision to have a second child depends essentially on the socioeconomic situation of the father.” —Benoît Laplante, Centre—Urbanisation Culture Société, Institut national de la recherche scientifique

July - September

23 September 2010 - Western News
Counting on long-form census data

By: Roderic Beaujot and Zenaida Ravanera

A voluntary National Household Survey cannot take the place of the long-form census. This was the message of Munir Sheikh when he resigned as Statistics Canada chief statistician over the government’s decision to scrap the long-form. On July 21, on behalf of The University of Western Ontario, Ted Hewitt, Research and International Relations vice-president, wrote to Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, to urge the reinstatement of the use of the long-form for the 2011 Census. Western is in good company, with now more than 350 groups and organizations having written similar letters...."

20 September 2010 - The Globe and Mail
The caregiver: ‘Like a frog in slowly boiling water'

By: Andre Picard

...One way to lessen the financial blow – and to ensure a good quality of life for those with dementia – is to invest today in programs that make it possible for families to care for their loved ones in the home, says Neena Chappell, the Canada Research Chair in Social Gerontology and a professor in the Centre on Aging at the University of Victoria. “One of the great myths out there is that, if we offer support, family members will … walk away,” she says. “The truth is that families provide care very willingly but, because of the lack of support, they can't always cope.” Dr. Chappell says the key response to the rise in dementia (and other chronic illnesses common among the frail elderly) is to invest in comprehensive universal home care and thus keep people out of institutions much longer: “Let's give people help to keep grandma at home.” ... "

17 September 2010 - The Globe and Mail
Why Canada needs a national strategy on dementia

By: Andre Picard

...“Nobody wants their grandma in a nursing home,” says Neena Chappell, the Canada Research Chair in Social Gerontology and a professor in the Centre on Aging at the University of Victoria. Like most experts, she believes that having people stay in familiar surroundings is humane and cost-effective – and should be a foundation of a national dementia strategy. However, she also stresses that, while public investment is a must, providing medical, nursing and support services in the home should complement, not replace, care from family members. Contrary to popular belief, most families are willing to help, but they need help themselves, especially as the disease progresses and new challenges arise. ... "

7 September 2010 - CBCradio - The Current
Demographer's Dilemma

"Noted economist and demographer David Foot says demographics explain two thirds of everything. The study of populations is a powerful forecasting tool that should help governments and individuals plan for the future. But is anyone really listening to what the demographers are saying? The Current kicks off this season's major project, SHIFT with The Demographer's Dilemma by The Currrent's Documentary Editor, Dick Miller. It's a documentary that explores the challenge of tracking the trajectory of that ever-elusive subject, humankind."

Susan McDaniel, Prentice Research Chair in Global Population at the University of Lethbridge, is one of the three demographers interviewed in the documentary.

3 September 2010 - MACLEAN'S.CA
Baby boomers: are they more sexually adventurous

Cathy Gulli

"...Boomers are also enjoying a new-found freedom from raising children, says Barbara Mitchell, a sociology and gerontology professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. “The kids have left home, and now they can refocus the spotlight on their relationship.” The opportunity to rediscover themselves can be invigorating—many start exercising, pampering themselves and reconnecting with their sexuality... When divorce happens, there is no shortage of resources to help boomers find their next partner—whether they’re looking for a casual encounter or a lifelong companion. Websites such as Lavalife Prime, Boomer Cupid, and Midlife Matchmaker all create “a much wider net to meet people who are single,” says Mitchell. There is also a slew of books offering boomers tips on relationships and sex, adds Mitchell, who is the review editor of the Canadian Journal on Aging..."

28 August 2010 - The Globe and Mail
First went the markets, then jobs. Now babies.

By: Adrian Morrow

...The birth rate in the United States has tumbled to its lowest level in a century, and experts lay the blame squarely at the feet of the Great Recession. ... While the most recent Canadian statistics are about six months older, they show no such decline, a fact that indicates this country has weathered the recession better than the United States and may also be linked to our more robust social-safety net. ...Things were going very well for young people, they felt secure that if they stopped working [to have a child], they could come back later and get a job,” said Roderic Beaujot, a sociologist and demographics expert at the University of Western Ontario in London. ... Canada’s birth rate has also been on a steady upswing over the last five years, particularly in Alberta and Quebec, which Mr. Beaujot attributes to two factors. In Alberta, rapid economic expansion fuelled a jump in births there, while generous social programs in Quebec gave residents enough assurance that they would have the supports they need to leave work. ” ...

19 August 2010 - The Globe and Mail
Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Lorna Dueck says God ordered the wandering Israelites to take a census (Even God Ordered a Census – Aug. 16), citing the Book of Numbers. But later, in Chronicles, we read “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. … And God was displeased with this thing and therefore he smote Israel.” Scripture does not say whether David used a short form or a long form, or whether the count was mandatory. But it seems God changed his mind. Since Messrs. Harper, Clement and Day can’t use the Bible as a reliable guide to census taking – God may be displeased no matter which way they decide – maybe it’s a case where reason not faith should inform their decisions. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet. Reason would restore the mandatory long-form.

Thomas K. Burch, Victoria

Getting Past “Yes” or “No”: Our debate over multiculturalism needs more nuance

By: Jeffrey G. Reitz

" Almost anything that goes wrong in minority communities can be blamed on multiculturalism, in the minds of some of its critics. They say multiculturalism, by celebrating diversity, not only encourages minorities to maintain possibly anti-democratic or sexist cultures and extraneous political agendas in Canada; it also exempts them from criticism based on mainstream values. Incompetence is excused, crimes are condoned and terrorist threats are ignored, all because multiculturalism makes people fear that criticism of minority groups, or even individual group members, will bring down accusations of racism. ..."

30 July 2010 - Times Colonist
Campbell should stand up for census

By: Sharon M. Lee

“ Premier Gordon Campbell is deferring to the federal government on its ideologically driven decision to replace the long-form census with a voluntary survey. Campbell believes that Industry Minister Tony Clement, who has been exposed as having misled the public about the role of the chief statistician and Statistics Canada on the census controversy, can be trusted to do what's right. The people of B.C. deserve a premier who understands the importance of this issue and who will unite with the other premiers to strongly oppose the federal government's politically driven change to the census. "

14 July 2010 - CBC News - Inside Politics Blog
Behind the numbers: Taking Census: privacy versus the public good

By: David McKie

"...Citing privacy concerns, the government will still allow StatsCan to distribute long form, but as a survey people can fill out if they wish. "Canadians, I believe, and we believe, will be very happy to fill in the long form," explained Conservative senator Marjory LeBreton. Not so, retort researchers such as Raymond Currie, who knows a thing or two about the methodology behind census taking. Currie is stepping down as the executive director of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network, a coalition of 24 (and soon to be 26) research centres at universities across the country. The network uses information from the long form for much of its work. The irony here is that the network also receives government money to conduct that research. So, on the one hand, the Ottawa is giving it money to conduct research; and on the other taking away some of the very data it needs to do that work. ..."

April - June

27 May 2010 - THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Nearly one-quarter of Canadians will be seniors by 2036

By: Ann Hui

...“There’s no need to panic,” said Susan McDaniel, Prentice research chair in global population at the University of Lethbridge. “Some of the mistake is that people, including policy people, see people who are 85 needing health care now, therefore thinking that people 20 years from now will need the same thing. But people who are 85 now were born in a time when smoking was chic, they sometimes went through the Depression – they’re an entirely different person.” ...

... Not only are the future elderly not going to be a drain on the system, they also will be contributing, productive members of the economy, said Monica Boyd, professor of sociology at the University of Toronto. Many elderly people are choosing not to retire right away, she said, and many are able to work until they’re much older as jobs move from labour-based to technology-based. ..."

May 2010 - Good Housekeeping (125th Anniversary Issue)
Divide Chores, Multiply Smiles

...After analyzing thousands of surveys on how couples spend their time, researchers at the University of Western Ontario in Canada divided respondents into five family models. What they found: For both men and women, the "shared roles" model, where partners divide unpaid work (a.ka. chores) about evenly, was associated with the greatest level of life satisfaction. "This is a more collaborative marriage model," says lead author Roderic Beaujot, Ph.D., in which both partners share in earning and caring for each other, children, and the home." When neither carries the full burden of earning or housework, both are happier, he says. ..."

20 April 2010 - THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Number of mixed-union couples on the rise, Statscan says

By: Siri Agrell

...Children from mixed-union families face the “Obama dilemma,” said Susan McDaniel, the Prentice Research Chair in Global Population at the University of Lethbridge. The U.S. President recently sparked headlines for ticking off “African-American” on his census sheet, even though he is the child of a Kenyan father and a white woman from Kansas. Like many Canadians, his background is a mash-up of ethnic backgrounds. “A child in one of these families might, on any given day, check a different box,” Dr. McDaniel said. “I think a lot of young people, this ethnicity thing doesn’t matter to them. They do the food and they might keep the religion and grandma cooks a nice whatever it is, but they don’t see it as part of their self-identity.” ...

January - March

31 March 2010 - THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Letter to the Editor: The goal: die healthy

Michael Bliss’s image of the melting snowman is consistent, at least in analogy, to UBC health economist Bob Evans’s evocative image that population aging is more like a glacier than avalanche (The Problem Of Saying No To The Sick – March 29). Prof. Bliss’s analogy fails, however, in that with rectangularization of mortality – the demographic concept that we all live longer in a healthy state and then die quickly – we may less often need intensive health care in our dying. The snowman then is knocked over, rather than slowly melting (with apologies to snowmen), and there’s merit in keeping us healthy into old age."

Susan A. McDaniel, Lethbridge, Alta.

March 29, 2010, 8:00 PM - TVO - The Agenda with Steve Paikin
Our Ever-Growing Lives

Alain Gagnon, Associate Professor at the University of Western Ontario and currently guest researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Demography in Rostock Germany, talked about why we're living longer, comparing life expectancies today and 200 years ago.

March/April 2010 - CityWoman
She Does -- He Does: Shared Domestic Roles

By: Kelly Quance

... While the Complementary-Traditional model remains the largest, it is declining. Rod Beaujot, lead researcher, explains that although there is no "clear-cut winner" across all models, it's evident that an increasing number of couples prefer to share the domestic load. Considering that virtually all women in a shared-roles model are contributing financially to the family, it is important that governments continue implementing policies that support women being part of the workforce. ... "

February 25, 2010 - THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Budget, boomers and ticking time bombs

By: Joe Fiesen

...“The worry is that with all the discussion of demographics there might be an alarmist reaction, that they might do something drastic, which I don't think they have to do at least based on demographics,” said Susan McDaniel, Prentice research chair in global population and economy at the University of Lethbridge. ..."

..."Demographer Roderic Beaujot suggests clawing back the old-age supplement completely when a person's income reaches the average annual wage. He also suggests cutting back on RRSP deductions, which mostly benefit the well-off. ...."

February 18, 2010 - MACLEANS.CA
Jobs Wanted: The manufacturing heartland is ailing. Can it be Saved?

By: Chris Sorensen

"... But what, exactly, is the knowledge economy, and how do we go about building one? Michael Haan, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Alberta, says the term is frustratingly vague and, as a result, has sometimes paved the way for poor policy decisions. He points to the legions of skilled immigrants who end up working on loading docks. “We sort of delude ourselves into thinking we need well-trained people to contribute to the knowledge economy,” he says. “But we’re not ready for them when they get here.” While it’s difficult to predict what will replace factory jobs, Haan suggests aging baby boomers will create a growing need for health care and various retirement services in coming years. ... "