2019 Child Poverty Report Card

Media Release
January 14, 2020

One in Five Children Still Poor First Call’s 2019 Child Poverty Report Card Finds

(Vancouver BC) Today, First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition released the 23rd annual BC Child Poverty Report Card finding that not much has changed for poor children and their families. In 2017, the year this report covers, there were 163,730 children and youth living in poor households with many living in deep poverty.

“Once again our report finds one in five children in BC were living in poverty in 2017,” commented Adrienne Montani, First Call’s Provincial Coordinator. “And for the first time we saw children in lone-parent families make up over half BC’s poor children.”

2017 Findings:

  • 163,730 children and youth were living in poor households in 2017.
  • 51,760 poor children were under the age of six.
  • Overall, BC had the 8th highest child poverty rate out of all the provinces and territories.
  • BC child poverty rate at 19.1% was slightly higher than the national child poverty rate of 18.6%.
  • The poverty rate for children living in lone-parent families is 51.4%.
  • For the first time since 2009, the number of poor children in lone-parent families increased, from 81,960 in 2016 to 86,690 in 2017.

Indigenous children, new immigrant children, children in visible or racialized minority groups and those with disabilities all have much higher poverty rates than the BC average.

The gender inequality gap persisted with the median income for female lone parent households at $44,960, just 72% of the $62,550 median income for male lone parent households.

While there are poor children growing up in all areas of BC, poverty rates are varied from 15.3% in the East Kootenay Regional District to 42.5% in the Central Coast Regional District. Many of the regional districts with the highest child poverty rates were located in coastal areas, particularly along the north and central coastal areas.

First Call’s recommendations to government include better income supports and universal programs like affordable housing and child care investments; targeting efforts to help those who have a higher risk of living in poverty; moving more quickly to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour; and significantly raising income and disability assistance rates to bring them in line with actual living expenses and index them to inflation.

About Us
First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition is a non-partisan coalition of 107 provincial and regional organizations who have united their voices to put children and youth first in BC through public education, community mobilization, and public policy advocacy. First Call has been tracking child and family poverty rates in BC for over two decades.

The 2019 BC Child Poverty Report Card, maps and other materials are posted here.

For more information or interviews, please contact Helesia Luke, Communications Coordinator
helesia@firstcallbc.org | desk: 604-709-6970 | cell: 778-858-0553