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Canada's Official Poverty Line

Chart - Canada's Poverty line 2018

Description - Canada's Official Poverty Line
  • This line chart shows the change in the poverty rate in Canada over time.
  • It has a vertical axis showing percentages, from 5 to 15 percent, by increments of 2 percent.
  • It has a horizontal axis showing years, from 2008 to 2017, by increments of 1 years.
  • The line shows that the poverty rate was approximately 12.4% in 2008, and remained within plus/minus one percent of 12% until 2015.
  • Three recent data points are highlighted: 12.1% in 2015, 10.6% in 2016, and 9.5% in 2017, an all-time low.

Source: Opportunity for All – Canada's First Poverty Reduction Strategy

More information on Canada's Official Poverty Line

Canada's Official Poverty Dashboard

"Opportunity for All" introduces a dashboard of 12 indicators to track progress on deep income poverty as well as the aspects of poverty other than income, including indicators of material deprivation, lack of opportunity and resilience.


Dignity in poverty banner

Lifting Canadians out of poverty by ensuring basic needs — such as safe and affordable housing, healthy food and health care — are met.

Deep economic poverty

5.1 percent of Canadians were living in deep income poverty in 2017, down from 5.4 percent in 2016. More information on Deep poverty

Unmet housing needs and chronic homelessness

12.7 percent of Canadian households experienced housing need in 2016, same as in 2006 and slightly up from 12.5 percent in 2011. More information on Unmet housing needs and chronic homelessness

Unmet health needs

11.2 percent of Canadians 12 years and older reported not receiving health care when they felt they needed it in 2014, down from 12.5 percent in 2000–01. More information on Unmet health needs

Food insecurity

8.3 percent of Canadian households were food insecure in 2011–12, up from 7.7 percent in 2007–08. More information on food insecurity

Opportunity and inclusion

Opportunity and inclusion banner

Helping Canadians join the middle class by promoting full participation in society and equality of opportunity.

Relative low income

12.7 percent of Canadians had less than half as much income as the median after-tax income in 2017, down from 13 percent in 2016. More information on Relative low income

Bottom 40% income share

20.4 percent of total after-tax income went to Canadians in the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution in 2017, slightly down from 20.6 percent in 2016. More information on Bottom 40% income share

Youth engagement

9 percent of Canadian youth (age 15-24) were not in employment, education or training in 2017, down from 10.2 percent in 2016. More information on Youth engagement

Literacy and numeracy

10.7 percent of 15-year-old Canadians had low literacy skills in 2015, slightly down from 10.9 percent in 2012. 14.4 percent of 15-year-old Canadians had low numeracy skills in 2015, an increase from 13.8 percent in 2012. More information on Literacy and numeracy

Resilience and security

Security banner

Supporting the middle class by protecting Canadians from falling into poverty and by supporting income security and resilience.

Median hourly wage

The median hourly wage for all Canadians was $23.08 in 2018, down slightly from $23.14 in 2017 (in 2018 constant dollars). More information on Median hourly wage

Average poverty gap

In 2017, Canadians who lived in families with incomes below Canada's Official Poverty Line were on average 35.1 percent below this line, up from 34.1 percent in 2016. More information on Average poverty gap

Asset resilience

51.2 percent of Canadians were asset resilient in 2012, up from 46.2 percent in 2005, meaning they had enough savings to maintain well-being for three months. More information on Asset resilience

Poverty entry and exit rates

Between 2015 and 2016, 3.9 percent, or approximately 840,000 Canadians, entered poverty. Between 2015 and 2016, 27.6 percent, or approximately 1.1 million low-income Canadians, left poverty. More information on Poverty entry and exit rates

Opportunity for All – Canada's First Poverty Reduction Strategy

Opportunity for all: Canada's First Poverty Reduction Strategy

In August 2018, the Canadian government released "Opportunity for All – Canada's First Poverty Reduction Strategy". "Opportunity for All" is a whole-of-government strategy that involves actions and investments that span across the federal government.

Gender, diversity and inclusion statistics

Gender, diversity, and inclusion banner

Visit Gender, diversity and inclusion statistics for information on socio-demographic characteristics that can intersect with poverty.

Sustainable Development Goals and Poverty

Sustainable Development Goal 1 - No poverty

Goal 1 - No poverty of the Sustainable Development Goals is to end poverty in all its forms everywhere.

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