N.S. child poverty rates dropped sharply in 2020, ‘almost entirely’ due to pandemic relief – Halifax
Nova Scotia’s child poverty rate fell by 24.3% in 2020, according to a new report. This is mainly due to the end of his temporary COVID-19 relief program.
2020 saw the biggest drop in child poverty in a year on record, according to a Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives report released Thursday.
But it said the cuts were “almost entirely due to federal pandemic relief support and surcharges,” and warned that without permanent measures, the problem of child poverty would worsen.
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“We should celebrate the decline in child poverty in 2020. But for whatever reason, poverty is worse today,” the report said.
“The benefits of the pandemic that have made a difference have been temporary. Moreover, after 2021, people have had to deal with skyrocketing prices for essentials such as housing, food and heating.”
According to the report, there were 31,370 children living in low-income families in Nova Scotia in 2020, or 18.4%, or more than 1 in 6 children.
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2020 was the first year since 2000 that Nova Scotia’s child poverty rate was below 24%.
The report notes that more than 569,000 Nova Scotians — more than two-thirds of the population over the age of 15 — received more than $2 billion in COVID-19-related assistance that year.
Only 0.3% of support came from state governments and 99% from the federal government.
The report, authored by Lesley Frank and Christine Saulnier, found that without the benefits of these temporary pandemics, an additional 14,500 children in Nova Scotia would be living in poverty, resulting in a drop in child poverty rates. estimated to have risen to 27% annually.
Requires ‘bold moves’
Frank, a CCPA researcher and chair of the Tier II Canadian research committee on food, health and social justice at the University of Acadia, said in the release that small, incremental changes by government over the years have resulted in “child poverty. It made little or no change in rate.”
“This report card shows that poverty can be reduced, and it can be done quickly. Pandemic benefits, a bold move, lifted 14,500 children out of poverty in one year.” said Frank.
“Sadly, the bold move was only temporary. Nova Scotia continues to perform poorly in reducing poverty. We have paid the price for our incremental actions.”
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Despite a decline in child poverty in 2020, Nova Scotia had the fourth highest child poverty rate in the country that year and the highest in Atlantic Canada.
The report notes that poverty rates among racialized, immigrant and indigenous children are “much higher”, with poverty rates among racialized children at 29.5%, compared with 29.5% among racialized children. was almost double the poverty rate for children without
Indigenous children living in protected areas have a poverty rate of 43.5%, while non-Indigenous children have a poverty rate of 16.5% and indigenous children living outside protected areas have a poverty rate of 22.4%. % was.
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And immigrant children have a poverty rate of 32.6%, more than double that of nonimmigrant children.
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“This rate is significantly higher than the national average (18.8%), meaning that those who migrate to Nova Scotia are more likely to live in poverty,” the report said.
There was also a gender component, as households with single mothers were more likely to have lower incomes than single fathers or two-parent households.
According to Statistics Canada’s Census Division, the Digby, Annapolis and Cape Breton regions have the highest child poverty rates of 27.3%, 25.7% and 24.8% respectively, and the lowest rates in Antigonish (15.2%). %) was. ) and Halifax (15.9%)
“Children who can’t wait”
The report made many recommendations to state governments to reduce child poverty, and poverty in general.
“To end child poverty, we need to tackle poverty in all its forms because children live in families living in poverty.”
Here are some recommendations:
- Develop robust and comprehensive poverty eradication programs.
- Increase Income Assistance and Child Benefit Programs “Significantly”.
- Raise the minimum wage to $20 and amend labor standards laws to better protect workers.
- Improve social programs and infrastructure such as child care systems, education, health care and access to food.
- Address the ongoing housing crisis in the state.
- Developing aggressive strategies with communities with very high poverty rates.
- Commit to reconciliation and uphold the self-determination of indigenous peoples.
The report concludes by stating that investing in ending child poverty is “the best investment we can make as a society.”
“By breaking the cycle of poverty early, more people can reach their full potential, and I am committed to helping make Nova Scotia a place where everyone can not only survive, but thrive. We are reaping the benefits for generations to come.”
“It’s time for our government to take responsibility for the poverty in our state. Kids can’t wait.”
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