Income, or the lack thereof, is always a hot topic. Low income cutoffs have a long history at Statistics Canada, but until the last few years analysis of the population with low income was restricted to annual snapshots. Now that the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) has been in place since 1993, analysts can begin to address several long-debated issues, such as: Does Canada have a hard-core disadvantaged population? Are certain individuals or families at higher risk of persistent low income? How long does a spell of low income last? How severe is the low income? The longitudinal SLID data are greatly enhancing our view of low income.
This month's article, "Experiencing low income for several years", updates and expands an earlier study that covered the years 1993 to 1996. With the addition of two more years of data, a more nuanced picture emerges of the population at risk. Living with long-term low income is indeed a reality for some, but considerable movement into and out of this state takes place.