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Study: Disaggregated trends in poverty from the 2021 Census of Population

Released: 2022-11-09

According to the 2021 Census of Population, the poverty rate in Canada decreased from 14.5% in 2015 to 8.1% in 2020. Driven by higher government transfers—including the enhanced Canada Child Benefit and temporary COVID-19 pandemic relief benefits—the poverty rate declined for all age groups, particularly for children. The poverty rate for one-parent families headed by a woman with a child aged 0 to 5 years fell by more than half, from 62.7% in 2015 to 31.3% in 2020.

A new study published today, titled "Disaggregated trends in poverty from the 2021 Census of Population" from the Census in Brief series, focuses on the experiences of poverty in Canada in 2020 based on data from the 2021 Census. It examines disaggregated poverty trends by age, gender, family situation, immigrant status and Indigenous identity, as well as for racialized groups.

Despite the decrease from 2015 to 2020, some groups remained more vulnerable to situations of poverty in 2020, including unattached individuals, one-parent families, transgender and non-binary people, Indigenous people, racialized groups, refugees, and recent immigrants. Those experiencing poverty are at higher risk of facing hardship during periods of economic uncertainty, such as during periods of reduced economic activity or elevated inflation.

The study complements results from the 2021 Census of Population released on July 13, 2022, "Pandemic benefits cushion losses for low-income earners and narrow income inequality – after-tax income grows across Canada except in Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador," and August 2, 2022, "The contribution of pandemic relief benefits to the incomes of Canadians in 2020," which highlighted how income from government transfers—including pandemic-related benefits—helped offset lost employment income during the first year of the pandemic.


The study "Disaggregated trends in poverty from the 2021 Census of Population" is now available as part of the Census in Brief (Catalogue number98-200-X) series.

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