Toronto is the child poverty capital of Canada: report
The Toronto skyline before sunrise on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. (George Stamou / CTV News)
Published Tuesday, October 13, 2015 8:18AM EDT
Toronto has the highest percentage of youth living in poverty of Canada's 14 largest urban areas, according to a newly released report.
The report was released by the Toronto Children's Aid Society Tuesday, and was compiled using tax filer data from Statistics Canada for 2013.
The data showed that more than one in four children are living in low-income households in Toronto. Approximately 144,000 youth, or 29 per cent, are living in low-income households.
The city also has the highest percentage of total population living on a low income, at 22.6 per cent.
The report used Statistics Canada's low-income measure before tax to calculate the percentage. The calculation is based on the median income of all households, and adjusted based on cost of living and the number of people who live in the household.
It found that child poverty rates have remained virtually unchanged in Canada's largest city since 2007.
Poverty is highest among individuals of non-European backgrounds, the report said.
"Children of colour, Indigenous children, children from single-parent or newcomer families, and children with disabilities are more likely to experience poverty in Toronto," it said.
Children living in some Toronto neighbourhoods are 10 times more likely to live in poverty, the report found. The poverty rate is more than 50 per cent in Regent Park, Moss Park, Oakridge and Thorncliffe Park, the report found.
The youth poverty rate is lowest (less than 5.2 per cent) in Lawrence Park North, Leaside-Bennington and Kingsway South.
The report found that 18 of the 25 neighbourhoods in Scarborough had a child poverty rate of 30 per cent or higher. Across the city, 18 neighbourhoods had child poverty rates of 40 per cent or higher.
Youth poverty rates dropped outside the city's borders, the report showed. Poverty rates are approximately 21 per cent in Peel, 15 per cent in York and Durham, and 11 per cent in Halton.
The report found that Toronto's rate of child and youth poverty was four per cent higher than in Montreal, the city ranked second by the report. Montreal has a rate of 25 per cent of children aged 0-17 in low-income families.
The rates for the 14 geographical areas considered are as follows:
- Toronto - 29 per cent
- Montreal - 25 per cent
- Winnipeg - 24 per cent
- Hamilton - 22 per cent
- Peel - 21 per cent
- Vancouver - 20 per cent
- Ottawa - 17 per cent
- Edmonton - 16 per cent
- Waterloo - 16 per cent
- York - 15 per cent
- Durham - 15 per cent
- Calgary - 14 per cent
- Halton - 11 per cent
- Quebec City - 9 per cent
"It is shameful that our leaders have allowed widespread poverty of young people to continue," report author Michael Polanyi said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Until all levels of government make poverty reduction a priority, the success of tens of thousands of young people will remain at risk."