Canada‘s poverty rate has fallen to a historic low in one of the sharpest three-year declines on record, the national statistics office says, but millions of Canadians still live below the poverty line.
Statistics Canada reported Monday that the national poverty rate dropped to 8.7 per cent in 2018 compared to 9.5 per cent a year earlier.
The child-poverty rate was little changed at 8.2 per cent. Still, the agency said 566,000 children lived in poverty compared to one million at a peak six years earlier.
Even under potential changes to how the agency calculates the official poverty line, national rates have dropped.
Statistics Canada said its proposed new formula for calculating poverty would increase the rate by 2.3 percentage points and bump the number of Canadians considered to be living in poverty from just under 3.2 million to almost four million.
“Irrespective of the measure you’re using, we’ve seen an improvement in people’s lives when it comes to poverty and it’s entirely a result of public policy,” said David Macdonald, a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, citing the federal government’s income-tested Canada Child Benefit as one example.
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