An examination of the impact of sexual orientation, marital status, and gender on the retirement planning of Canadian adults


There is an increasing diversity of family forms in Canada. For example, sexual minority (non-heterosexual) adults have gained substantial visibility and integration and recent research is beginning to understand how sexual minority status and relationship status have impact on their retirement planning. However, little research has investigated retirement planning among diverse family forms and living arrangements using nationally representative data.


The purpose of this study was to examine:

  1. What impact do gender and sexual minority status have on retirement planning
  2. Whether lesbians and bisexual women plan less than other groups
  3. What is the impact of concealing sexual orientation identity on retirement planning for sexual minorities
  4. Are there couple type differences (e.g., same-sex vs. opposite-sex) in terms of spousal influence on retirement planning

Summary of findings

The data analyzed were drawn from General Social Survey Cycle 21, a large nationally representative survey collected by Statistics Canada with extensive sections on retirement planning and the Impact of relationship partners on planning. Analyses focused on the 4,591 participants who were retired and married or cohabiting.

Consistent with previous retirement planning research, the results showed women tended to report higher levels of spousal influence than men. However, this association applied only to heterosexuals, not sexual minorities. This finding suggests that the dynamics of partner influence in same-sex relationships may be different that those in heterosexual relationships. Additionally, greater income was associated with less spousal influence. The gender by sexual minority interaction was also significant.

Project members: 
Undergraduate Fellow
Faculty Supervisor
Project time line: 
May, 2011 to August, 2011
Last updated: January 08, 2017