Kausar Thomas

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This thesis (1) employs a new measure of household headship to study the time trends and provincial differentials in household structure in Canada between 1901 and 1981; and (2) analyzes the effects of measures of industrialization/urbanization, income, kin availability and tastes and preferences on the historical and cross-sectional variations in household structure in the Canadian provinces over the 1921 to 1971 period through multiple regression using pooled cross-sectional and time series data.;In the five eastern provinces and in the country as a whole, household structure remained virtually unchanged until the post-World War II years. After World War II household headship increased rapidly. During the first two decades of the century headship levels in British Columbia were extremely low. After 1911, headship in British Columbia rose until 1941, increased slightly between 1941 and 1956, and increased sharply between 1956 and 1981. The Prairie provinces, particularly Alberta and Saskatchewan, exhibit very high household headship during the early part of the century. Headship in these two provinces declined until 1931, changed little between 1931 and 1956, and then increased. Trends in Manitoba have been similar to these in Alberta and Saskatchewan, although the levels have been much lower. After 1956, headship levels in the eastern and western provinces converge. However, since 1956 an East-West gradient has become apparent. Headship is highest in the West, lowest in the Maritimes and intermediate in Central Canada.;The regression results suggested that income and tastes and preferences are the major correlates of household structure in the Canadian provinces. Kin availability emerges as a minor determinant of household structure since only one indicator of this factor, migration, had a significant effect on the dependent variable. Only one measure of industrialization/urbanization, males in agriculture, had an effect on household structure. Its effect, although strong, was in the opposite direction to that expected on the basis of the industrialization/urbanization perspective. Therefore, industrialization and urbanization do not appear to result in a decline in household extension.



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