B.C. had 119,000 kids living in poverty in 2010, according to new report

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      B.C. had the second-highest rate of child poverty among the provinces in 2010, according to a report card released today by the advocacy group First Call.

      B.C.'s rate of 14.3 percent of kids living in poverty ranked only behind the percentage in Manitoba and exceeded the national average of 13.7 percent in 2010.

      Approximately two-thirds of the 119,000 poor children in B.C. lived in the Lower Mainland that year.

      The organization notes that B.C.'s top 10 percent of income earners made 13.8 percent times the income of B.C.'s lowest income earners—the greatest gap of all provinces in 2010.

      The 11.6 percent poverty rate for kids in two-parent homes was also the highest in Canada; incomes for these families were $13,800, on average, below the poverty line.

      In a news release accompanying the dissemination of the data, Dr. John Millar of the Public Health Association of B.C. pointed out that high levels of income inequality have been linked to greater infant mortality, crime, mental illness, addiction, and obesity, as well as reduced educational outcomes.

      "This is a recipe for a very sick society, unless we turn this around," Millar stated.

      British epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson, cofounder of the U.K.-based Equity Trust, has demonstrated that growing levels of inequality not only shorten the lives of poor people, but also undermine the lives of the better-off. That's because they are more likely to become victims of violence and their kids will be less likely to do as well in school in more unequal societies.

      First Call has called on all provincial parties to present a "comprehensive plan" to reduce B.C.'s child-poverty rate before the 2013 provincial election.




      Nov 21, 2012 at 10:57am

      Having grown up as a poor child, I can assure people that the possible negative outcomes described aren't simply "risks" that can easily be managed. Without good luck and strong parenting, they're almost inevitable.

      Sadly though, Canada is rapidly becoming a Conservative State, where the "poor" are largely regarded as lazy, stupid or incompetent (Romney in the U.S. described the mentality well with his "47%" dimissal). My single mother was none of those things, of course, but she was part of the "working poor" and as a consequence, I grew up poor too.

      It's simple and fairly cheap to fix (total cost would be less than the pointless federal Tory ad budget), but in the absence of caring there will never be a solution to this growing problem. Instead, we will pursue new trade argreements with countries where child and human poverty are almost beyond our comprehension.

      I wonder how long it will be before Canadian "voters" (using the term loosely) turn their backs on Canadian children who live in squalid conditions, barely clothed, and trying to survive on a bowl of rice a day?

      Oh, wait. We already do. We call them "first nations" people ... lazy, stupid and incompetent, right?


      Nov 21, 2012 at 11:07am

      Excuse me? What does a photo of someone's dirty feet have to do with child poverty?