News / Ottawa

Child poverty dropping, but many kids still living in low-income families

One in four people living in a low-income family is a child, Statistics Canada study finds.

Child poverty in Canada has been falling since the mid 1990's but 1.2 million Canadian children still live in low-income households.

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Child poverty in Canada has been falling since the mid 1990's but 1.2 million Canadian children still live in low-income households.

Child poverty in Canada continues to fall, but of the 4.8 million Canadians living in low-income households nearly a quarter are children.

Statistics Canada released new numbers Wednesday showing about 14 per cent of Canadians live in low-income households. That includes 1.2 million children, 17 per cent of those under age 18.

The agency defines a low-income person based on the number of people in their household. A single person making $22,133 qualifies as low-income as does a family of four with an income less than $44,266.

While the number is still high, it has been dropping since the mid 1990’s when almost one in three low-income people were children.

Alberta had the lowest rate of child poverty in the country, because of its high-incomes and low unemployment. But Quebec’s rates were also low, which Statistics Canada speculated may have been because of the province’s low cost of childcare. 

“It’s one explanation that is plausible and I think more and more analysis will be conducted on these numbers to try and find explanations that are more precise,” said Eric Olson, the agency’s lead on housing and income.

Not surprisingly, single parent families with only one income were more likely to have children living in poverty than dual-income families. Children who lived with single mothers were also more likely to live in poverty at 42 per cent, compared to children living with their father at 25.5 per cent.

Poverty rates among children also went up when more kids lived in the household and were highest when children were youngest.

More to come …

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