By the Numbers: Income distribution and the poverty line

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►In 2009,1 in 10 Canadians was considered poor.

►The poverty rate for all persons rose from 9.4% to 9.6% compared to 2008.

►Child poverty rose from 9.1% in 2008 to 9.5% in 2009.

►In 2009, 8,916,000 Canadians were working full-time year round compared to 9,593,000 in 2008, a loss of 677,000 full-time jobs over a year.

►In Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and Quebec the average and median after-tax income increased through recession.

►In Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia the average and median after-tax income dropped dramatically since the economic crisis began.

►In Ontario, in 2009 the richest 20% enjoyed 44.3% of total after-tax incomes whereas the poorest 20% had just 4.7% of the after-tax income.

►In Alberta, the poorest income group was the hardest hit by the recession compared to all jurisdictions. By 2009, the poorest 20% had 4.3% of total after-tax income whereas the richest 20% enjoyed 44.3% of the after-tax income, mostly at the expense of the middle class group.

►In British Columbia, the richest 20% held the biggest share of total after-tax income of any jurisdiction, at 44.8% whereas the poorest 20% got home only 4.5% shares of the total after-tax income.

►Quebec has one of the most evenly distributed incomes in the country. The richest 20% had 42.9% of the shares and the poorest 20% had 5.3% of the pie.

►Saskatchewan distribution of income remained steady since 2006. In 2009, the richest 20% held 43.1 of total after-tax income and the poorest 20% held 5%. (Statistics Canada did not include the aboriginal people living on reserve in this survey).

►Newfoundland and Labrador is the province with the most even distribution of after-tax income, even though its economy registered a rapid growth in the past few years.  In 2009, the richest 20% had 42.2% of all after-tax income and the poorest 20% held 5.6%.

►In 2009, half of Canadians were living on less than $25,400.

►In 2009, the low income cut-offs (LICOs) – also known as the poverty line – for after tax incomes were as follows:  

1 person: $18,421

2 persons: $22,420

3 persons: $27,918

4 persons: $34,829

►$18.81 per hour x 40 hours per week: A living family wage in Vancouver. B.C.’s current minimum wage is $8.75 per hour.

►$16.60 per hour x 40 hours per week: A living family wage – for couples with two children – living in the Great Toronto Area. Ontario’s current minimum wage is $10.25.

►1: The total number of municipalities in Canada to adopt a living wage policy for all city staff. The municipality is New Westminster, B.C.

►140: The total number of municipalities in the United States that have passed living wage policies since 1994.

 

Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA); Statistics Canada, various tables