New data suggests child poverty has now reached "epidemic" levels in the city.
A coalition of groups interested in the relationship between children and economic inequality—including Alliance for a Poverty-Free Toronto, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Family Service Toronto, and Social Planning Toronto—is releasing new statistics today that reveal 29 per cent of the city’s children (nearly 149,000) are living in poverty. That marks a rise from 2010 when the rate was 27 per cent.
As part of a report on child poverty planned for release in the fall, the coalition studied 2012 tax filer data made available by Statistics Canada, and found that of Toronto’s 140 neighbourhoods, 40 per cent are seeing child poverty rates at or above 30 per cent. While neighbourhoods such as Leaside and Lawrence Park are sitting at 5 per cent, others—Regent Park, Moss Park, and Thorncliffe, for example—have rates of upwards of 50 per cent, and children of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, and Latin American descent have a higher chance of living in low-income families.
In April 2014, city council approved a motion to prepare a plan for poverty reduction—a plan scheduled for completion by 2015. The coalition is calling on mayoral candidates to pledge their support for this decision, and to discuss the challenges of child poverty at an event this Thursday.
“We want to make sure that mayoral candidates and city council candidates recognize the severity and the importance of the issue,” Laurel Rothman of Family Service Toronto told the Toronto Star. “Now is the time for the next mayor of Toronto to take political leadership of this important work and deliver results.”