Approximately 25% of the 4.8 million Canadians living in poverty are children. While child poverty rates are decreasing since the mid 1990’s the child poverty rate (17%) still exceeds adult rates of 13.4% (Statistics Canada, 2017). Statistics suggest that young children are more affected by poverty. Statistics Canada states that this may be due to the mother’s lower earnings during child-rearing years. Child poverty is highest for children under the age of 1, making up 18.3% of all children. Children ages 6 and under make up 17.8% of low-income children and youth, followed by 15.9% aged 11-17 and 14.6% 17 years of age (Statistics Canada, 2017).
Child poverty rates vary substantially between provinces. Alberta has the lowest rate of child poverty followed by Saskatchewan. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have the highest rates of child poverty. Quebec is the only province where child poverty rates are lower than the adult rates.
Children of lone parent households are more likely to be living in low income than their two-parent household counterparts. A household’s propensity to be low-income also increases with the number of dependent children, with the poverty increasing from 30.5% with one child to 55.1% with three or more children.
Collective living by sharing a dwelling with another family lowers instances of child poverty by approximately 7%. Collective living lowers poverty rates for one parent households by almost 30%.