Poverty Reduction Resources

Related strategies

The poverty reduction strategy and Niagara Prosperity Initiative funding is in alignment with:


  • Income
    • Niagara's median after-tax income for economic families is $72,105, which is lower than Ontario's median after-tax income for economic families of $79,531
    • 14.5 per cent of Niagara individuals are considered low income after tax compared to Ontario at 14.4 per cent. However, this is unevenly distributed across municipalities. St. Catharines and Welland have the highest total percentage of households that are low income after tax at 17.5 per cent.
    • Niagara has a higher percentage of individuals in income groups from $10,000 to $49,990 and a lower percentage of individuals in income groups above $50,000 compared to Ontario
    • In the region, 25.8 per cent of single parent families are low-income, and if you're a female lone parent (children aged 0 to 5), there is a 62 per cent chance you and your children are living in poverty
    • 30.8 per cent of single people in Niagara are considered low income
  • Children and families
    • In Canada, children are currently living in deeper poverty. The families and children that remain in poverty are further from the poverty line than in previous years.
    • In Canada, the child poverty rate is higher for children under six than for all children
    • In Niagara, 25.8 per cent of single parent families are low income, and if you're a female lone parent (children aged 0 to 5), there is a 62 per cent chance you and your children are living in poverty
    • In Ontario, 73 per cent of parents / caregivers have stated that their finances were impacted as a result of their child or youth's mental health concern, and one in four parents / caregivers have missed work to care for their child with anxiety issues
    • In 2018 in Niagara, Early Development Instrument scores were collected for 3,606 senior kindergarten students. The results for Niagara show that:
      • Vulnerability in the Social Competence subdomain is higher than the provincial average
      • Vulnerability in the Emotional Maturity subdomain remains of concern; it's higher than the provincial average for the third time in a row
  • Food security
    • Evidence shows that 15.1 per cent of households in Niagara are food insecure, above the 12.7 per cent rate for Canada. Food insecurity is more prevalent among households with children than those without children.
    • Unattached individuals are the fastest growing demographic of food bank users in Ontario, and use them most frequently
  • Housing and homelessness
    • According to 211 data, in 2021, 21.98 per cent of all calls in Niagara were about housing, and this was the top reason for calls
    • In Ontario, 12 per cent of all households with children 0 to 17 years of age are in core housing need. The share is higher (18.5 per cent ) for households with children and at least one family member who belongs to a racialized group.
    • In Niagara, the top five given reasons for most recent housing loss were:
      • 22.8 per cent financial hardship
      • 13 per cent conflict with spouse / partner
      • 12.8 per cent landlord / tenant conflict
      • 11.6 per cent addiction or substance use
      • 10.3 per cent unsafe housing conditions
    • In Niagara, the top five self-identified health conditions given for most recent housing loss were:
      • 61.4 per cent mental health issue
      • 40.5 per cent substance abuse issue
      • 37.7 per cent learning disability
      • 36.4 per cent illness or medical condition
      • 33.6 per cent physical disability
  • Gender-based violence
    • During the COVID-19 pandemic, women's shelters in Niagara reported a dramatic increase in the instances and severity of domestic violence
    • In Canada, one in four women have experienced violence at the hands of a partner
    • Twenty-seven percent of participants in a study in Niagara noted that they experienced homelessness or were at risk of it because of an abusive relationship
    • Statistics Canada data from 2019 indicates that for many women who are able to access a violence against women shelter, few transition from these shelters into safe, affordable or adequate housing. About one in five will return to live with their abuser.
    • One study found almost 40 per cent of those who had experienced domestic abuse said it made it difficult for them to get to work, and 8.5 per cent said they lost their jobs because of it
  • Equity considerations
    • The marginalized identity of the parent and economic family composition greatly impact the poverty rate. For example, individuals with a disability living in female sole-caregiver families are at greater risk of poverty.
    • The 2016 Census data shows that 29.5 per cent of Indigenous children in Ontario live in poverty. There are gaps in data collection and lack of disaggregation in many cases.
    • Racialized people and immigrants throughout the province continue to experience systemic barriers that result in higher rates of poverty. The most recent numbers from Census 2016 indicate that 26.2 per cent of racialized children and 49.1 per cent of recent immigrant children under 18 liv e in poverty in Ontario.
  • Impact of the pandemic
    • McMaster University collected information about parenting during the pandemic. In 2021, Niagara statistics show:
      • 45 per cent of parents said the pandemic had 'a lot' to 'a great deal' of negative impact on their child's mental / emotional health
      • 51 per cent of parents had moderate-high levels of concern about managing their children's anxiety and stress
    • The pandemic has had an impact on parental mental health, particularly for women and in households with younger children. Compared to before COVID-19, maternal depression has increased from 10 to 32 per cent for mothers of children 0 to 18 months, from 9 to 42 per cent for mothers of children 18 months to 4 years old, and from 9 to 43 per cent for mothers of children 5 to 8 years old.
    • Over the last two years, the growth in visits to a food bank was three times higher than the growth in unique individuals, illustrating that those experiencing low incomes are having even greater difficulties affording their most basic needs each month
    • A survey conducted in September 2021 asked people who self-identify as having a disability to share how they have been impacted by COVID-19. The survey found that two-thirds of respondents have less than $11 per month after paying for housing and utilities, and that 61 per cent consider themselves to be 'worse off' financially compared to the start of the pandemic.
    • In Niagara, during the pandemic, 12.7 per cent said there was an impact on their food supply
    • In September 2021, food bank visits were 32 per cent higher than the September average for 2017-2019
    • Results from a survey of professionals who serve survivors of gender-based across the United States:
      • 84 per cent reported they believed the incidence of intimate partner violence increased, while 31 per cent reported that help-seeking of intimate partner violence has decreased
      • 66 per cent of respondents reported that abusers have interfered with survivors' work / employment as a control tactic during the pandemic
      • 59 per cent of respondents encountered issues with survivors who have tried to seek help, but the agency was unable to provide services because it was closed or functioning at limited capacity
      • 25 per cent reported that law enforcement's response to meeting the needs of survivors worsened during the pandemic
      • 58 per cent of respondents reported that abusers monitoring survivors' activities increased 'very much' during the pandemic

For more statistics, see Niagara Priority Profiles.

Public Health and Social Services Committee

See agenda and meeting notes for the Public Health and Social Service Committee meetings.


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