The Current Poverty Lines – Economics Essay
In 1996, the United Nations designated that year as the International Year for the eradication of poverty; unfortunately poverty statistics for 1996, as reported by the National Council of Welfare, show that Canada
came nowhere near to meeting that goal. Living in poverty is more common among families in our community than we believe. Everywhere you go, there is always some homeless person asking you for change, or you hear about another family on the news asking for help because they cant pay their bills, or are getting evicted from their home. Another surprising statistic was that between 1989, to 2000 Hunger Count 2000 reported that the food bank use had grown an astonishing 96%; granted Toronto is largely overpopulated, with a vast number of poor families, but that number is just ridiculous.
Toronto is a very large and expensive city to live in, but families who are poor, live way below the poverty line. For example, a family of four which is living in Toronto with an income of $35, 455 in 2001 would be living below the poverty line, contrary to the same family living in a small town would not have been below the poverty line, unless their income was less than $24, 502. This surprising statistic from Statistics Canada may suggest that many families might actually be choosing to live in poverty because of the fact that they live in a larger city, and if they moved to a smaller town, they would no longer be living below the poverty line. However, this is the wrong perception to take on poor families; most of them cannot even afford to move because they would not be able to find jobs somewhere else, possibly because of their lack of education. Also, most family’s pre-tax income is less than $25,744 which according to Stats Canada, is living below the poverty line.
Poverty does not only affect specifically families or adult individuals, there are many children in Toronto today who are living below the poverty lines. Child poverty rates for children under 18 in Toronto went up between 24% in 1990 to approximately 31%-36% in 1995 and are still relatively at the same percentage today. The following graphs are perfect examples of how child poverty has been steadily increasing over the years in Toronto.
In 1995 the number of poor families was 94,430 and in 1998 there were 99,940 poor families in Toronto. Another very surprising statistic from Statistics Canada is that in Toronto, one quarter of families with children are poor. This means that about 25% of all families in Toronto struggle to put a meal on the table for their children everyday. It’s because of the lack of income of poor families that places the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto, which is the largest in Ontario, is now a permanent necessity for many families and individuals. This clearly shows that a lot of families with children need to rely on food banks just to live. They almost have no money to spend on groceries, and most of their earnings go towards their children’s clothing and education. At the end, the children end up suffering the consequences of living in poverty anyway.
In 1990 the median income for a lone parent with children was approximately $30,000, and two parents was approximately $65,000. In Toronto in 1998 a lone parent with children made $25,000, and two parents with children made approximately $55,000. This statistic from Statistics Canada clearly shows the rapid pace at which more and more families are in Toronto are continuing to fall below the poverty line and are getting poorer and poorer. The graph below illustrates the various types of families which live in poverty, such as single household parents, to a full family of four.
This graph clearly shows that the number of single parent mothers under the age of 65 with one to three children generally has increased over the years.
A number of economic factors can contribute to such shocking statistics. One main one is that the middle class people are almost non existent in today’s society. Nowadays, there is only the rich, and the poor, the rich simply seem to get richer, and the poor as u can see from the stats, just continue to get poorer. Also, another economic factor which is actively participating in the increasing number of people living in poverty in Toronto is the number of immigrant families in Toronto. A surprising finding by United Way is that immigrant families accounted for two-thirds of the totally family population living in higher poverty neighborhoods. Also, there has been an enormous increase among immigrant family population who are living in higher poverty neighborhoods, almost 484%. In 1981, there were 19,700 poor immigrant families, compared to 115,100 in 2001. Rent also has a big impact on family’s living in poverty. The graph below clearly shows that there is a large increase from 1991 to 1995 in the number of households spending more than 30% of their income just on rent.
Poverty in Toronto is a major issue and there are many factors which contribute to the vast amount of families and individuals who live below the poverty line. The poverty rates evidently, as unfortunate as it may seem will most probably continue to rise in Toronto and there has been no sign of it declining.