Child and Family Poverty Persists in British Columbia!

How can we Advocate for Change?

2020 Child Poverty Report Card

British Columbia

January 2020

With thanks and immense appreciation to the work of First Call: BC

Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition.

Child and Family Poverty Persists in British Columbia!

30 years ago in November of 1989, the all-party House of Commons resolution to end child poverty by the year 2000 was passed unanimously.

In 2017, one in five children in B.C> were still growing up in poverty. 19.1% of children in BC lived in poverty representing 163,730.

First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition released the 23rd annual BC Child Poverty Report Card finding that not much has changed for poor children and their families.

The following is a summary of the report presented in January 2020:

In 2017, the year this report covers, there were 163,730 children and youth living in poor households with many living in deep poverty.

“Once again our report finds one in five children in BC were living in poverty in 2017,” commented Adrienne Montani, First Call’s Provincial Coordinator. “And for the first time we saw children in lone-parent families make up over half BC’s poor children.”

2017 Findings:

  • 163,730 children and youth were living in poor households in 2017.
  • 51,760 poor children were under the age of six.
  • Overall, BC had the 8th highest child poverty rate out of all the provinces and territories.
  • BC child poverty rate at 19.1% was slightly higher than the national child poverty rate of 18.6%.
  • The poverty rate for children living in lone-parent families is 51.4%.

For the first time since 2009, the number of poor children in lone-parent families increased, from 81,960 in 2016 to 86,690 in 2017.

Indigenous children, new immigrant children, children in visible or racialized minority groups and those with disabilities all have much higher poverty rates than the BC average.

The gender inequality gap persisted with the median income for female lone parent households at $44,960, just 72% of the $62,550 median income for male lone parent households.

While there are poor children growing up in all areas of BC, poverty rates are varied from 15.3% in the East Kootenay Regional District to 42.5% in the Central Coast Regional District. Many of the regional districts with the highest child poverty rates were located in coastal areas, particularly along the north and central coastal areas.

First Call’s recommendations to government include better income supports and universal programs like affordable housing and child care investments; targeting efforts to help those who have a higher risk of living in poverty; moving more quickly to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour; and significantly raising income and disability assistance rates to bring them in line with actual living expenses and index them to inflation.

What needs to happen next? What actions need to be taken and how do we begin to advocate with all levels of government?

Read the recommendations;