The 2021 Census showed that poverty rates have changed substantially across Canada including in Hamilton. The income data in this latest Census is from the 2020 tax year, and for almost a third of Canadians, their income included Canada Emergency Response Benefits (CERB), which helped households weather the economic shock of lockdowns during the early part of the pandemic and contributed to reduced poverty rates overall. Data for Hamilton residents shows that the percentage of Hamilton residents living with low income was 11 per cent in 2020, down from 15 per cent in 2015. These rates reflect a similar trend seen for all of Canada, which dropped from 14% in 2015 to 11% in 2020. In Ontario, the low-income rates dropped from 14% in 2015 to 10% in 2020.
This information is contained in a new report, 2021 Census: Poverty in Hamilton by major age groups.
Other important findings from these reports include:
- 2021 Census data shows improvements in Hamilton child poverty – welcome good news! Small increase, however, in seniors’ poverty points to fraying social safety net for older adults.
- Inflation is making the food emergency crisis in Hamilton even more dire. In 2018, 12% residents in Hamilton Centre riding accessed a food bank. Since then, inflation has increased food costs by 19%.
- Ontario social assistance rates have been frozen since 2018, forcing recipients in deep poverty and the daily struggles of survival. Gap to reach poverty line for Ontario social assistance recipients ranges from $801/month to $1,337/month.
To learn more about Poverty In Hamilton By Major Age Groups, part of the ongoing Hamilton’s Social Landscape Report series, click here.