B.C. child poverty rate higher than national average, says report
Rural and single-parent families most at risk, says coalition of child and youth advocates
British Columbia's child poverty rate is higher than the national average, according to a new study from a coalition of advocacy groups.
According to the report released Thursday morning by First Call: B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, the provincial child poverty rate — as of 2014 — was 19.8 per cent, which puts it higher than the national average for youth at 18.5 per cent.
The organization's 2016 B.C. Child Poverty Report Card also puts the overall poverty rate in B.C. at 20.1 per cent.
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Adrienne Montani, the provincial coordinator for the coalition says income inequality is growing in B.C. and there are several factors to blame.
She highlights the "failure to collect some revenue and failure to share the wealth that's being accumulated through wages with people and through robust social programs."
"We don't have a decent child tax benefit in B.C. We have a very stingy one compared to other provinces."
Rural and single-parent families most at risk
While the percentage of children in B.C. living in poverty has decreased slightly from the 20.4 per cent in last year's report, the percentage of children affected by poverty who live in single-parent families stayed the same, at 50.3 per cent.
"B.C. has made no substantial progress in reducing this astounding rate of poverty for children in lone-parent families since 2006, and in fact it has trended upward since 2009," the report says.
The report, which uses data from Statistics Canada's T1 Family File, also showed the large regional disparity in child poverty: while many areas in the Peace River region and Kootenays had rates below 20 per cent, the Central Coast Regional District had a 51.9 per cent child poverty rate, and the Alberni-Clayoquot, Skeena-Queen Charlotte and Mount Waddington districts were all over 30 per cent.
The report defined the poverty line as $24,954 for a single parent with one child, $30,301 for either a couple with one child or a single parent with two children, and $35,648 for a couple with two children.