New Report: Child poverty rate double for racialized children in Toronto area

Children in the Toronto region and their families’ incomes are deeply divided along race, a new report finds.

Based on 2016 Census data, the report shows that Toronto region children from racialized families— families of people of colour— are twice as likely to be living in poverty compared to children in non-racialized families (25.3 % compared to 11.4%). The report also found that Indigenous families with children are experiencing an extremely high poverty rate of 84%.

The report, entitled “Unequal City” also found that:

  • More than one-in-four (26.3%) children under 18 years of age lives in poverty in the City of Toronto – this is the highest rate among large urban areas in Canada.
  • Poverty rates for children in Black families are almost three times that of children in non-racialized families.
  • Almost half of children of West Asian (46.8%) and Arab (46.7%) background lives in poverty in the Toronto region.

"This report clearly shows that families who are Indigenous, racialized, and immigrants are the hardest hit by growing inequality," said Jessica Mustachi of Ontario Campaign 2000. "In a city that proclaims to value diversity, it is deeply disturbing to see such a deep divide among family incomes and experiences of poverty in Toronto."

“Access to transit, housing, and quality recreation can ensure children and families have the chance to escape poverty,” said Sean Meagher, Executive Director of Social Planning Toronto. “We know this, but we continue to underfund these services in our City budgets. This report should serve as a wake-up call.”

In 2015, The City of Toronto passed its poverty reduction strategy, outlining sweeping changes and investments to a variety of services affecting low-income people. However through several budgets, City Council has yet to properly fund those commitments.

“We need a comprehensive approach to ensure our Council reduces— rather than continues—  the stark racial divide in our city,” said Michael Polanyi of Children’s Aid Society. “If we want to make a positive difference, City Council must fully fund its poverty reduction strategy in 2018.”

“Unequal City” was published jointly by the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Social Planning Toronto, Family Service Toronto, Campaign 2000, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, and Colour of Poverty - Colour of Change.

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