Nearly 15 per cent of Greater Victoria children were living in poverty in 2018, according to the 2020 BC Child Poverty Report Card.
First Call BC has been releasing the report for 24 years to draw attention to the issues facing the province’s children and youth. Province-wide, 18.5 per cent of children faced poverty in 2018, a small decrease from 19.1 per cent in 2017.
While Victoria had a lower number than the provincial average, there were still 8,690 children living in poverty in the region in 2018.
In 81.3 per cent of Victoria’s census areas, one in 10 children lived in poverty. These numbers were highest around downtown Victoria and southern Saanich.
Throughout the province, visible minorities had the highest rates of child poverty.
Within the 42 First Nations reserves analyzed, 40.7 per cent, or 3,500 children faced poverty. This is more than double the provincial average.
The numbers were even higher for Arab, Korean and and West Asian children, with 59.3 per cent, 45.5 per cent and 42.9 per cent respectively.
The lowest rates were among Filipino children at 10.9 per cent, followed by South Asian at 14.3 per cent and children who were not a visible minority at 15.8 per cent.
The census also recorded a 44.9 per cent poverty rate for new immigrant children in B.C. These numbers were not available at a local-level.
In regard to household makeup, children with a lone parent were far more likely to face poverty at 50.4 per cent, compared to 10.2 per cent for children with both parents. In Victoria, 43.4 per cent of children in lone-parent households lived in poverty in 2018.
The average after-tax income of a poor B.C. lone-parent family was $18,750 if they had one child and $23,940 if they had two. Those numbers went up to $26,160 and $31,760, respectively, for two-parent families.
In Victoria, First Call BC determined the living wage to be $20.50 an hour. In reality, many people still rely on a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
While the latest report draws on numbers from 2018, First Call warns that COVID-19 has magnified inequities for low income children and youth and rates are likely to rise.
Impacts of the pandemic are showing up in indicators on job loss and income insecurity, housing insecurity, food insecurity, the digital divide, access to social services and mental health.
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