What is Poverty?

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Poverty is thought as not having enough money for basic needs like food, clothing and shelter, but it is much more than that. Poverty is a complex issue that seeps into everyday lives and excludes those who cannot afford to participate in society. Things such as recreational activities, post-secondary education, medications for illnesses, or being unable to send their kids on a school field trip, are just a small glimpse into the impact of living in poverty.

Poverty impacts an individual and their family’s choices, opportunities, and hopes for a better future. All of which impacts their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

How Do We Measure Poverty?

There are different measurements used in Canada to portray the incidence of poverty.

The Low Income Measure (LIM) After Tax (AT) is the most commonly used Canadian poverty measure (used in Saint John) which allows for regional and international comparisons.

The Low Income Measure (LIM) After Tax (AT) is the most commonly used Canadian poverty measure (used in Saint John) which allows for regional and international comparisons.

The Low Income Measure defines the poverty line as being below a fixed percentage of income.

  • A household is considered living in poverty if its income is below 50% of median household incomes
  • The median household income is where half of the population live below and half the population live above
  • LIM takes into consideration family size
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Who is Most Impacted By Poverty?

Poverty in Saint John is most predominant among single parent families and single adults.

The City of Saint John has a population of 67,575:

  • 15,200 citizens are living in poverty; more than one in five (22.5%)

  • 5,000 children 17 years and under are living in poverty: one in three (33%)

  • With 15,200 citizens living in poverty in Saint John, we know that in 2018:

  • 4,600 Parents and children are living in deep poverty;

  • 2,800 single adults aged 19-65 are living in deep poverty


How Does the Rate of Poverty In Saint John Compare?

The overall poverty rate in the City of Saint John is much higher than the national rate and higher than the provincial rate.

  • Canada: 14.2% [More than four (4) million Canadians are living in poverty]

  • New Brunswick: 17.1% [More than 100,000 citizens]

  • Saint John Census Metropolitan Area (CMA): 16.7%

  • City of Saint John: 22.5% [More than 15,000 citizens]

Child Poverty is concentrated in the City of Saint John. The child poverty rate is almost double the national rate.

  • City of Saint John: 33%

  • Canada: 17% [Canada is 2nd highest among peer countries]

  • New Brunswick: 22% [Highest provincial rate, tied with Nova Scotia]

  • Alberta : 13% [Lowest provincial rate]

The child poverty rate is higher in Saint John than in the surrounding areas. When Quispamsis, Rothesay and Grand Bay-Westfield are included in the Saint John CMA, the poverty rate decreases. However, the Saint John CMA still has the highest child poverty rate of all cities in Atlantic Canada.

  • Saint John CMA: 23% [2nd highest among large CMAs in Canada]

  • Moncton CMA: 20%

  • Halifax CMA: 19% • St. John’s CMA: 15%

  • Quebec City CMA: 8% [lowest among large CMAs in Canada]

Poverty can mean working and still being poor. Being employed does not always mean someone isn’t living in poverty. Close to 9% of individuals employed in Saint John are considered working poor (below the poverty line). The three major cities in New Brunswick (Saint John, Moncton, and Fredericton) have a similar rate of individuals who are considered to be “working poor” with Moncton at 8.5% and Fredericton at 8.1%.