Number of Nova Scotians living in poverty is declining
July 8, 2013
The number of Nova Scotians living in poverty is at its lowest level in decades.
The number of people with low incomes dropped by more than 7,000 to 64,000 in 2011, a decrease of 10 per cent over 2010, according to Statistics Canada.
That means about 7 per cent of the population are considered to be living in poverty. This is the lowest number percentage of low income Nova Scotians on record for the province.
The number of children in low income households also improved, decreasing by 2000 to 13,000, a drop of 13 per cent.
"Poverty remains a significant issue and finding solutions remains complex, but these most recent numbers show the province is heading in the right direction," said Denise Peterson-Rafuse, Minister of Community Services.
A recovering economy, improving labour market conditions and government programs have contributed to higher employment and higher incomes. Between 2009 and 2011, NS’s unemployment rate dropped from 9.2% to 8.8%
Since 2009, government has taken a broad-based approach to poverty reduction, investing more than $420 million for income supports training and employment, and more affordable and supportive housing.
The province also increased investments in the Poverty Reduction credit, the Affordable Living Tax Credit, the Seniors Property Tax Rebate, and the Nova Scotia Child Benefit.
Personal use allowances also increased by 7 per cent this year, putting more money in the pockets of individuals on Income Assistance.
In 2013, the minimum wage increased to $10.30 per hour, a 20 per cent increase since 2009. Nova Scotia’s rate is the highest among the 10 provinces.
Persons in Low Income, by Age Group, After-Tax LICO, Nova Scotia, 1976 to 2010
- The number of people living in low income (after-tax LICO) dropped from 71,000 to 64,000 between 2010 and 2011 in NS. The percentage dropped from 7.7% to 7.0%.
- The number of children under 18 living in low income (after-tax LICO) dropped from 15,000 to 13,000 between 2010 and 2011 in NS. The percentage of children dropped from 8.9% to 8.0%.
- The percentage of seniors aged 65 and over living in low income (after-tax LICO) dropped from 3.1% to 1.9% between 2010 and 2011 in NS.
- Compared to the rest of the country, NS had the 5th lowest percentage of people living in low income, after PEI, NL, SK, and NB. AB had the same rate as NS. BC had the highest rate in the country at 10.7%.
- Overall in Canada, the percentage of people living in low income dropped from 9.0% to 8.8% between 2010 and 2011.