Poverty in Calgary: A Picture of the Incidence and Experience of Low Income in Calgary and Area

News Release

4 June 2018

News Release

For immediate release

Calgary, AB, June 4, 2018 – Vibrant Communities Calgary (“VCC”) is pleased to release a statistical collation of the incidence of low income in Calgary and area. Statistics Canada’s Census 2016 afforded the organization an opportunity to complete this in-depth investigation which VCC hopes to replicate on a regular basis. Additional sources of information included the Government of Alberta’s Open Data program and the Community Data Consortium, to which Vibrant Communities Calgary holds membership.

Here is a link to the report online.

“As advocates for systems and policy change that address the root cause of poverty, we call upon government to make decisions on policy, practice and programs that is based on evidence and lived experience,” said Franco Savoia, Executive Director of Vibrant Communities Calgary.   “With this report, we are demonstrating that we also have to be evidence-informed in our own decision-making.”  The report will be shared widely with Enough for All stakeholders and community partners to build upon our shared understanding of how we measure low income and the root causes of poverty.

 Poverty in Calgary is:

  • Despite a gradual reduction between 2005 and 2015, the incidence of low income remains high at 8.1% or 8.9%, depending on the measure.
  • There are as many ways into poverty as there are ways out of it.  Lone-parent families with young children, seniors, immigrants, Indigenous Peoples and people living with disabilities are more likely to live in low-income.
  • There is tremendous diversity in the experience of low income even amongst those people who are living it every day.  The after-tax median income for a single person living below the “poverty line” is $9,010.  It is a mere $12,090 for a single parent with one child.
  • Women experience rates of low income at a higher frequency than men.  The rate of low income amongst single women over the age of 75 (11.4% vs. 5.8%) and female lone-parent families with children under the age of 5 (49.1% vs. 24.5%) is twice that for their male counterparts.
  • The report identified vulnerabilities which, when experienced over time or compounded with other factors, can lead to deep and sustained periods of low income. Evidence shows that educational attainment, quality, affordable early learning and child care services, affordable housing and adequate social assistance levels, amongst others, can reduce the likelihood of living in low income.