Publications, opinions, and speeches
Poverty Eases Slightly
Published on 01/04/1999
After two years of increases in 1995 and 1996, poverty eased a bit in 1997. Statistics Canada estimates that 5,222,000 Canadians or 17.5 percent of the population – one person in six – lived on low incomes in 1997. The number of low-income Canadians declined by 72,000 from 5,294,000 in 1996 to 5,222,000 in 1997, while rate of poverty eased from 17.9 percent in 1996 to 17.5 percent in 1997. Some traditionally poverty-prone groups – females generally, children in families headed by single mothers, the single elderly – saw a proportionately greater decline in their poverty rate and numbers than low-risk groups, though they still run a high risk of poverty. The depth of poverty – i.e., the average number of dollars that low-income Canadians fall below the poverty line – did not improve: The average low-income family headed by a person under age 65 slipped slightly from $8,873 below the poverty line in 1996 to $8,905 below the poverty line in 1997, and low-income elderly families fell from $2,906 below the poverty line in 1996 to $4,165 in 1997. Families in the bottom income group enjoyed a small but welcome increase in their market income – i.e., their income from employment earnings, private pensions and other private sources. However, reductions in income benefits from two major social programs – Employment Insurance and welfare – offset employment income gains, leaving low-income families no further ahead in terms of their total income.
ISBN – 1-894159-46-2