, Volume 82, Issue 1, pp 57-77
Date: 15 Aug 2006

When Twenty-Four Hours is not Enough: Time Poverty of Working Parents

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Abstract

Individuals can be money poor, time poor or both. While income is the most used indicator of poverty, broader indexes including non-monetary aspects of deprivation have been proposed and measured. As one such measure, our study focuses on the element of deprivation arising from the time deficit of many working people. The usual poverty threshold is calculated as the amount of income to buy the minimum required goods and services from the market. This minimum required purchase is greater for these people since they have less time than the average person to produce some goods and services for themselves at home. So, they need money to buy these in the market in order to maintain the same consumption. The income standard must be supplemented to adequately measure actual poverty.

Time use data make it possible to establish time requirements and time availability and provide a measure of time poverty. Using Canadian GSS 1998 data, and building on the work of Vickery (1977, ‚The time poor: A new look at poverty’, The Journal of Human Resources 12(1), pp. 27-48) and of Douthitt (1993, ‚The inclusion of time availability in Canadian poverty measures’, Time-Use Methodology: Toward Consensus (ISTAT, Roma), pp. 83–91), and our own previous study, we estimate time-adjusted poverty thresholds and rates for single and dual parent Canadian families. As expected, we have found high incidence of time deficit among the employed single parents with children. We make a case for the acceptance of a redefined poverty standard for such time-deprived groups.