Percentage of population in low income* in Canada from 2000 to 2015

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This statistic depicts the percentage of the Canadian population living in low income from 2000 to 2015. In 2015, 14.2 percent of all Canadians were living in low income.
Low Income Measures

The low income measures (LIMs) were developed by Statistics Canada in the 1990s. They, along with the low income cut-offs (LICOs) and the market basket measure (MBM), were created in order to measure and track the low income population of Canada. With low income measures, individuals are classified as being in low income if their income falls below fifty percent of the median adjusted household income. The median income is adjusted in order to reflect the differing financial needs of households based on the number of its members. The low income measures are a useful tool to compare low income populations between countries as they do not rely on an arbitrary standard of what constitutes the threshold for poverty. Statistics Canada insists that the low income measures are not meant to be representative of a poverty rate. The department has no measure which they define as a measurement of poverty in Canada.

In 2014, 4.5 million people were living in low income families in Canada. While this number has been growing, as a proportion of the total population of Canada, the percentage of people in low income has remained fairly constant at roughly 13 percent. More women than men were living in low income families in 2014 though the number of men in low income has risen at twice the rate as that of women. One of the more drastic changes has been the rise in the number of single individuals living in low income, increasing nearly 46 percent since 2000.
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Release date
May 2017
Survey time period
2000 to 2015
Supplementary notes
*The percentages presented are of adults who fall below the threshold of low income measures (LIMs), which are 50% of adjusted median household income. Adjustments reflect the difference in needs of households based on the number of members.

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