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Canadian Income Survey: Food insecurity and unmet health care needs, 2018 and 2019

Released: 2022-01-07

Today, Statistics Canada introduces three new data tables on food insecurity and unmet health care needs. In addition to these tables, Statistics Canada is releasing a paper entitled Canadian Income Survey: Food insecurity and unmet health care needs, 2018 and 2019. These products present results from the Canadian Income Survey (CIS) on the first two years for which data on food insecurity and unmet health care needs were collected.

Approximately one in ten persons live in moderately or severely food insecure households

In 2019, 10.6% of Canadians resided in households that had experienced moderate or severe food insecurity, compared with 11.5% in 2018. Household food insecurity rates varied considerably across income groups, economic family types, and other selected demographic characteristics. Persons in female lone-parent families reported experiencing much higher than average moderate or severe food insecurity rates (33.0% in 2019), while those living in other family types, such as senior couples, reported significantly lower rates (3.0% in 2019). Similarly, those in the lowest income quintile reported much higher rates of moderate or severe food insecurity (22.4%) than those in the highest income quintile (3.0%). Moderate or severe food insecurity was also found to disproportionately impact Indigenous peoples living off-reserve (22.1% in 2019), persons with a disability (17.5%) and recent immigrants (15.4%).

Over one in twenty adults report unmet health care needs

In 2019, 6.0% of persons aged 16 years and over reported experiencing unmet health care needs, compared with 5.1% reported in 2018. Rates of unmet health care needs varied across age groups with those aged 25 to 34 years reporting the highest rates (7.6% in 2019) and those aged 16 to 24 years reporting the lowest rates (3.9%).

In addition to presenting the 2018 and 2019 CIS results on food insecurity and unmet health care needs, the Canadian Income Survey: Food insecurity and unmet health care needs, 2018 and 2019 paper presents a brief comparison with the data on food insecurity and unmet health care needs collected by the 2017/2018 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). Household estimates of food insecurity in the CIS appear approximately three percentage points higher than those in the CCHS over a comparable period. While a few methodological factors that partially account for this gap have been identified, much of this difference is due to factors that cannot be measured. Rates of unmet health care needs are less directly comparable with the most recent national figures available from the 2014 CCHS. Estimates of food insecurity and unmet health care needs from the CIS will be also be added to the Dimensions of Poverty Hub, allowing the government to monitor annual trends in these indicators.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

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