In Kangiqsujuaq, Nunavik, household composition has changed drastically over the past half-century. Although the cooperative division of labor between married couples was a cornerstone of the traditional Inuit economy, a large proportion of households in Kangiqsujuaq today are headed by single women with dependents. Examination of factors associated with marriage at the individual level and of patterns of wage labor participation within households shows that economic cooperation between married or common-law partners is associated with considerable advantages in the mixed cash/subsistence economy, particularly for households where both partners have steady, well-paying jobs. Married households have lower rates of food insecurity and are more invested in traditional harvesting and sharing than the households of unmarried individuals. Despite these benefits, there are significant challenges to forming successful households based on economic cooperation between men and women. The lower economic status of married households with only one primary wage earner, particularly in terms of per capita income, suggests that a domestic partnership may not provide any economic benefit if a prospective spouse or common-law partner is unemployed. In the current context of high unemployment in Kangiqsujuaq, this tradeoff may help explain the high prevalence of unmarried household heads and has important consequences for cultural transmission and mental health in Inuit communities.

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