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10 Things About Poverty In Canada

1. It’s Hard To Measure

While 1 in 7 (or 4.9 million) people in Canada live in poverty, there is no official measurement. Low income is one way of measuring poverty. Another is the "basic needs poverty measure” which looks at the absolute minimum resources needed to fulfill physical well-being. The "market basket measure” estimates the disposable income needed to meet basic needs.

2. It’s A Burden On The Economy

Poverty can exert extra health care and social assistance costs. Poverty costs that province between 5.5 and 6.6 percent of its Gross Domestic Product. The national health care costs attributable to poverty are $7.6 billion annually.

3. Too Much Is Spent On Shelter

In 2017, home ownership costs in the GTA were the second highest in Canada, making up 72 percent of a typical household’s monthly pre-tax income. The national average of 45.9% is far above the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s benchmark. The CMHC which considers housing “affordable” when no more than 30% of pre-tax income is spent on homeownership expenses.

4. Many People Are At Risk Of Being Homeless

Over 3 million Canadian households are precariously housed (living in unaffordable, below standards, and/or overcrowded housing conditions).

5. Precarious Employment Is On The Rise

Precarious employment has increased by nearly 50% over the past two decades. At the same time the average earnings are down. Between 1980 and 2005, the average earnings among the least wealthy Canadians fell by 20%.

6. Amount Paid In Income Tax Is Up

Canadians pay 42.5% of income in tax, more than they spend on food, shelter and clothing combined. A 2014 report revealed that since 1961, the average family’s tax bill has grown by 1,832%. Taxes have grown more rapidly than any other single item of expenditure for the average family.

7. Poverty Can Shorten Your Life

There is a distinct difference in life expectancy between the rich and the poor. The longevity gap for men between the highest and lowest earners is eight years. The highest-earning Canadian women outlive the lowest-earning women by three years.

8. Canadian Don’t Have Enough To Eat

Each month, over 850,000 people turn to food banks for help. 100 percent of the homeless population, over 235,000 Canadians annually, are food insecure and have missed a meal or gone a day or days without eating due to a lack of money.

9. Homelessness Is Wide Spread

On any given night, about 35,000 Canadians are homeless. There are, on average, over 9,000 people in Toronto who spend the night in shelters and on city streets.

10. Debt Levels Continue To Rise

The average Canadian owes $8,500 in consumer debt, excluding their mortgage. The household debt-to-income ratio reported in July of this year was 171.31 percent. In other words, the average Canadian owes $1.71 for every dollar they earn. The ratio was 169.9 percent and 168.5 percent for the same time period in 2017 and 2016, respectively.




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