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Updated March 2019

Poverty and Vulnerable Groups 

Over one in five children in BC live in poverty.

In 2016, 20.3% of children in BC lived in poverty. While this is a decrease from previous years, the number is still incredibly high, and higher than the Canadian average.

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Vulnerable groups are significantly more likely to be living in poverty in BC.

In 2016, over half of children living in single-parent families lived in poverty, compared to just over one in ten in families with both parents.2 Based on the Canada 2016 Census, in BC one in four of persons of Aboriginal identity live in low-income status, compared to 15% for non-Aboriginal persons.3

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Teachers report that the proportion of students at school experiencing poverty-related issues is increasing.  

In a 2012 BCTF survey of BC’s public school teachers, one in three respondents reported that the number of children experiencing poverty-related issues remained the same during the time they have been teaching, while 45% reported an increase.4

Question: How has the proportion of students experiencing poverty changed over the time you’ve been teaching at the school, by socio-economic context of the neighbourhood?

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A significant number of teachers report inadequate resources to deal with poverty-related issues among students.  

More than one in three respondents (39.5%) reported that the resources at school to address the poverty-related needs of students are not very adequate or not at all adequate, while only 12.2% of respondents reported that the resources are quite adequate or very adequate.

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1 Statistics Canada (2019). Table 11-10-0018-01 After-tax low income status of tax filers and dependants abased on Census Family Low Income Measure (CFLIM-AT), by family type and family type composition.

2 Ibid.

3 Statistics Canada (2017). “Aboriginal Identity (9), Individual Low-income Status (6), Low-income Indicators (4), Registered or Treaty Indian Status (3), Age (6) and Sex (3) for the Population in Private Households of Canada, Provinces and Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2016 Census - 25% Sample Data.” Data tables, 2016 Census.

4  White, Margret. et al. (2016). 2012 Poverty and Education survey: A teacher’s perspective.

5 Ibid.

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