Percentage of children living in low-income housing highest in the Maritimes: Stats Canada
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have the highest percentage of children living in low-income households, according to Stats Canada census data released Wednesday.
The data shows Saint John is on a list of cities with the highest portion of children living in poverty. The data looked at the Greater Saint John area, including Quispamsis, Rothesay and Grand Bay West-Field.
“In a census metropolitan area there is a prevalence of child poverty in households of 22 per cent, but the city of Saint John is 30 per cent," says Human Development Council executive director Randy Hatfield.
Hatfield says some areas of the city jump to a child poverty rate of 45 per cent.
Brenda Murphy of the Saint John Women's Empowerment Network says barriers such as the cost of childcare and lack of education and work aren’t helping.
"Children grow up in homes in Saint John. A high percentage are headed by a single parent women and women who have many barriers to try and get out of poverty," Murphy says.
The figures by Stats Canada were calculated before the Liberal government introduced the Canada Child Benefit, aimed at reducing the number of children living in poverty.
When it comes to household incomes, Stats Canada says a greater number of Canadians have more money in their pocketbooks. Stats Canada says the average income in most households reached just over $70,000 in 2015 – a 10.8 per cent increase from 2005.
But Maritimers earn far less. Stats Canada lists New Brunswick at the lowest at just over $59,000.
"If you look at the New Brunswick economy, on the earning side you have an underperforming economy,” says Hatfield. “You have people still seeking work, you have a lot of people on income assistance."
Stats Canada has been releasing results from the 2016 census throughout the year. The next set of data is due in October.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston.