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Delayed life transitions: Trends and implications

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Beaujot, Roderic
Publication Date: 
10 May 2004

Excerpts from press release: OTTAWA&emdash;Canadians have staged a revolution in life-course patterns over the past 40 years. All the major life transitions of the younger years are happening later; not only are today's Canadians taking longer to finish school and start working full-time, but they're also leaving home later, and waiting longer to get married and to become parents. This revolution in the timing of early life transitions has implications for every stage of life, according to a new report released by the Vanier Institute of the Family. In 'Delayed life transitions: Trends and implications,' Roderic Beaujot, Professor of Sociology at the University of Western Ontario, talks about both the advantages and the disadvantages of these delayed transitions on each age group from children through to the elderly. However, "The larger societal issues associated with delayed early-life transitions are especially low fertility and population aging." Dr. Beaujot has these suggestions: "Greater societal investments in post-secondary education would allow young people to leave home sooner, and to finish their education more efficiently without the distraction of part-time jobs. "Greater investments in the school-to-work transition, especially for the benefit of those who leave school early, would reduce the uncertainties of the initial years in the labour market. "Stronger investments in young families-including subsidies for parental leaves, tax benefits, reduced work hours, and childcare-would enable people in this stage of life to achieve their work and family goals." Dr. Beaujot acknowledges that "these are difficult questions, in part because an aging society tends to think especially of ways in which the lives of older people can be improved, and to ignore the needs of the young who are less numerous and have limited political voice." But, as he points out, "Investments in the early stages of the life course provide the best basis for long-term security."