Listen More than a million Canadian children are living in low-income households, according to census data. Census information released by Statistics Canada Wednesday shows that innearly 1. The agency defined low income as after-tax household income that is less than half of the median household income: This means that the cut-off would change as overall median incomes rise or fall.
Comments Canada has become a tougher place for immigrants who come here to improve their lot. Most are probably better off than they would have been had they stayed put, but relative to other Canadians, the trend of the past two decades is unmistakable: Poverty rates have risen substantially for most new immigrants.
That conclusion comes from an analysis of census data released last week by Statistics Canada. As usual, Statscan uses the term "low income" to describe the financial condition of many immigrant families, but many regard its published low-income rates as poverty rates by another name.
The growing prevalence of immigrant poverty is most obvious among the most recent arrivals -- those who have been in Canada for five years or less.
Story continues below advertisement In A decade later, Their research focused on recent immigrants, for whom the poverty problem is most acute, but the same trend is evident for those who have been here longer.
For those with six to 10 years in Canada, the low-income rate climbed to Among those in Canada for 11 to 15 years, the rate increased to Only two groups went in the other direction. The rate for non-immigrants -- those born here -- fell to Immigrants with more than 20 years under their belts in Canada fared better.
Their low-income rate was only The shifts weren't quite as smooth as these figures suggest. Poverty rates increased in the first half of both the s and s -- periods of recession and slow recovery -- and fell in the second half of each decade -- periods of strong growth.
Story continues below advertisement Story continues below advertisement But inandthe economy was at the top of the business cycle.
So it's obvious that the trend toward greater poverty among recent and not-so-recent immigrants was firmly entrenched and not just a reflection of economic conditions in those years. The fact that poverty rates fell for home-grown Canadians reinforces that point.
Sorting out the reasons for rising poverty among new arrivals is a challenge, because by one key measure -- education -- Canada's new immigrants should have been ideally positioned to do well.
Inonly 19 per cent of recent immigrants between the ages of 25 and 65 had a university degree; by42 per cent came equipped with such credentials. This age group is the core of the labour force -- people of working age, many with years of experience to accompany their educational credentials.
Yet despite Canada's rising demand for the highly educated and despite the needs of the knowledge-based economy, the Statscan researchers said, "having a degree, no matter what the discipline, did not protect these recent immigrants from a rising probability of being in low income.
The gap in low-income rates between the Canadian born and recent immigrants was highest among degree holders, particularly those with engineering and applied science degrees.
Neither did they have enough information to determine if outright discrimination played a role in rising poverty rates. Immigrants may also have been affected as much as anyone else by the same broad decline in earnings that all young workers faced over the past 20 years.Produced by Statistics Canada on a yearly basis, the LICO represents the income level at which a family may be in straitened circumstances because it has to spend a greater proportion of its income on necessities than the average family of similar size.
Statistics Canada adjusts its income line for family size, and according to whether the household is located in an urban or rural setting. The poverty line for rural households is about 30 per cent lower than that for urban households. A Angus Reid survey on personal experiences of poverty in Canada found that many of the Canadians who would be categorized as “struggling” are living above Statistics Canada’s low-income cut-offs.
22% of those in the “struggling” category have household incomes between $50, and $, Watch video · WATCH: Child poverty rates in Canada are sobering More kids, less money The more children a household has, the more likely it is to be low-income, according to the census data.
The rate of child poverty has remained at 12 per cent for two decades now, according to Statistics Canada. â€œFor many families, itâ€™s very difficult to get out of poverty. Poverty in Canada remains prevalent within some segments of society and according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the rate of poverty in Canada, is among the highest of the OECD member nations, the world's wealthiest industrialized nations.