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Poverty and Vulnerable Groups 

Almost one in five chldren in BC live in poverty.


In 2015, 18.34% 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.

Vulnerable groups, including single parents and Aboriginal persons, are significantly more likely to be living in poverty in British Columbia.

Vulnerable groups such as single-parent families and Aboriginal people are significantly more likely to be living in poverty. In 2015, nearly 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

PVgraph2 PVgraph3

Most teachers report unchanged or increased proportion of students at school experiencing poverty-related issues.

In a 2012 BCTF survey of BC's public school teachers, one in three teachers report that the number of children experiencing poverty-related issues remained the same during the time they have been teaching, while 45% report 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?


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

More than one in three teachers (39.5%) report 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 teachers report that the resources are quite adequate or very adequate. 5



1 Statistics Canada (2016). Table 111-0015 Family characteristics, Low Income Measures (LIM), by family type and family type composition. Ottawa: CANSIM.

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. Ottawa: Government of Canada.

4  White, Margret. et al. (2015). “CHAPTER 2: Child poverty in BC public schools and economic pressures on families.” 2012 Poverty and Education survey: A teacher’s perspective. Vancouver: BCTF.

5 White, Margret. et al. (2016). “CHAPTER 7: Adequacy of resources to address learning gaps and poverty-related needs of students in BC public schools.” 2012 Poverty and Education survey: A teacher’s perspective. Vancouver: BCTF.

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