Child poverty goes up in Toronto

A report issued by a coalition of child advocate groups says children living in poverty in Toronto has spiked by 21,800 since 1995

The number of children living in poverty in Toronto increased by 21,800 in the past eight years says a report released Monday by Campaign 2000, a coalition of child advocate groups.

The groups' numbers saw the number of poor children go up from 152,200 in 1995 to 174,000 in 2000.

The report states that single-parent and immigrant families are disproportionately affected by poverty, which affects diverse populations across the city of 2.5 million people.

"Child poverty is not a downtown problem large numbers of low-income kids are living in the suburbs," said Colin Hughes, who authored the report.

Child poverty rates have been steadily climbing in Toronto, according to the report, and a child welfare advocate say the results reflect a countrywide problem.

One in three children in Toronto lived in poverty in 2000 according to the report, based on the most recent data available from Statistics Canada.

Despite economic growth during that time, the report said the number of poor children in Toronto has increased by 21,800 since 1995.

"What is clear from this report is that economic growth is not enough to reduce child poverty," said Bruce Rivers of the Children's Aid Society of Toronto, one of the groups that released the study.

"Food on the table and a roof over the head is critical," he said.

The study determined the poverty line based on Statistic Canada's calculations. Using that equation, a single parent with one child was considered poor if the annual income came under $18,690.

A family of two parents with one children with total annual income of $22,695 is considered poor.

The report states that single parents comprise 57 per cent of the Canadian families living in poverty and shows that the child poverty rate among recent immigrants has grown steadily in the past 10 years.