The Gap Between the Rich and the Poor and for Different Groups

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The gap between the rich and the poor is widening in Niagara, as in all parts of Canada. According to the National Council of Welfare (2006), in 2004 for every $1 earned by the poorest 10% of families with children, the richest 10% of families with children earned $14.48.  The Council report stated that even after the impact of government transfer payments and income taxes, the poorest 20% of the population in Canada had only 5% of the income in 2003, while the richest 20% had 43.7% of the income.


There are higher poverty rates for women, immigrants, children, lone-parent families and the Aboriginal population. This Table was prepared by the Niagara Poverty Report (2006):


Table 24   Comparison of Average Incomes and Poverty Rates For Men and Woman in Canada


Women Average Income ($)

Women % Living Below LICO

Men Average Income

Men % Living Below LICO

All Canadians





Single parents








$15,500 –




New Immigrant





Visible minority





People with disabilities






Source: p. 12


Women and poverty …
Women and female-led single parent families experience the greatest depth of poverty. In 2003, poverty for unattached women was 17.1% compared to 14.7% for unattached men and single-parent women poverty rates were 48.9% compared to 20.0% for male single parents.


In 2005, in Canada, the average earnings of women were 61% that of men, regardless of the occupation. Education helps, but does not reduce the gender gap in wages.
Source: Statistics Canada, 2006.


Children and poverty …
Niagara’s rate of poverty for those less than 18 years of age was 9.8% in 2001 and went up to 16.5% in 2005 and way down to 6.5% in 2006.


Figure 29


Types of families and poverty …
Two-parent families with children are the most common family type with children in Canada and Niagara. While they have the lowest poverty rate of all family types with children (9.8% in 2003), their large numbers live approximately $9,900 below the poverty line (National Council on Welfare, 2006).


In 2005, in Niagara the median income for all families was $60,600 and for couples with families was $67,300, while the median income for lone-parent families was $30,300 (down 1.5% from the year before).


Female lead, single-parent families continue to be the highest group affected by poverty. According to the National Council of Welfare (2006), the average female lone-parent family lives $9,400 below the poverty line and single-parent mothers account for 80% or more of all single-parent households and more than 90% of poor single-parent families.


Aboriginal population …
In 2005, in Niagara, 6,930 identified themselves as Aboriginal. The average earnings for Aboriginal residents working in Niagara full-time for a year was $35,866, well below the Niagara average of $42,126 and the Ontario average of $47,299.


LICO and poverty variability across Niagara …
The percentage of people living below the LICO line varies across Niagara (ranging from 3.4% to 19.9%).  Source: Regional Niagara Public Health Department, 2003 in


Singles …
The number of working-age, single adults surviving on incomes less than half the poverty line has risen significantly. In 1989, 28% of single adults between the ages of 35 to 64 years had an income less than half the poverty line. By 2003, this statistic had risen to 46% (Campaign 2000, 2006). Singles over 65 are somewhat better off, although they are still living thousands of dollars below the poverty line (National Council of Welfare, 2006).


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