The Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) is a measure based on total income before or after tax and is expressed as the percentage of families or persons 15 years and over who live below the LICO level and live in poverty.
In 2006, the percentage of those living below the low income cutoff in Niagara was 14.2% of the population before taxes and 9.9% after taxes. The rates for Niagara are below the rates of 19.5% in Canada before tax and 14.6% after tax and for Ontario at 18.4% before tax and 14% after tax. Niagara’s present rate has improved from 2005 when it was 21% before taxes and 14.8% after taxes. While, the percentages may have improved, it still means that many individuals, families and children live in poverty in Niagara.
In 2005, the before-tax Low Income Cutoff Point for a single person living in a community with a population of 100,000 to 499,999 such as Niagara was $17,895.28. There is a slight increase in the LICO for each additional person added to the household (eg. for 2 adults and 2 children, the low income level is $33,251) (Statistics Canada, 2006). To pay rent, food and necessities out of this amount is a challenge and these households live in poverty.
Niagara’s trend for the percentage of families in the low income level after tax reveals a cyclical and more erratic pattern of low income over the last 25 years, compared to Canada or Ontario.