The Low Income Cut-Offs (LICO) poverty measure in Niagara

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The Low Income Cut-Off (LICO):  LICO is a measure based on total income, before or after tax. It is expressed as the percentage of families or persons 15 years and over who live below the LICO level and in poverty. LICO represents levels of income where people spend a disproportionate amount of money on food, shelter and clothing based on family and community size, and the consumer price index. The Low Income Measure (LIM) is the proportion of families having an after tax annual income less than 50% of the median Canadian income. The Deprivation Index lists necessities (items or activities) that are considered basic in relation to the standard of living in specific social and economic contexts and differentiates between the poor and the non-poor and other dimensions such as social isolation.

The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), 2009/2010 reported 12.9% of the population over 15 years of age in Niagara were below the LICO (14.7% in Ontario; 15.3% in Canada; and 18.1% in Hamilton). The percentage of low income families in Niagara was  6.9 % in 2009, significantly down from its peak in 2005 at 11.6% of the population. This percentage was below Canada’s rate of 10.6% and Ontario’s rate of 10.5%. While, the percentages can improve, many individuals, families and children live in poverty in Niagara.

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