Poverty solutions must address racial, gender and neighborhood inequities in HRM-new report on child and family poverty

December 13, 2017

HALIFAX — 13,690 children, almost one in five, were living in poverty in Halifax in 2015, according to a new fact sheet released on child and family poverty within the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). At 18.8%, Halifax has the 7th highest child poverty rate among the 25 large Canadian cities. There are five communities within HRM that have child poverty rates between 35 and 40%.

“This addendum to the NS Child and Family Poverty Report card released a few weeks ago shows why it is so important to consider how solutions interact at the community/neighbourhood level within HRM. This is especially important given that HRM includes more than 40% of the province’s population, covers a geographic area larger than PEI and has over 200 distinct communities, including fishing villages, farming communities, suburban areas, and multiple urban centres. The poverty rates vary widely from a low of 3.9% in Fall River to a high of 40% in North Preston,” says co-author and economic analyst, Katherine Ryan.

This backgrounder also underlines why it is critical to also consider racial and gender inequities as well:

  • Poverty rates for visible minority children are nearly three times the rate for non-visible minorities who live in Halifax (37.8% compared to 14.4%).
  • Several visible minority groups have higher rates of poverty within Halifax including South and West Asian. Similar to the rest of the province, the highest rates of child poverty are experienced by Arab children, with two-thirds living in poverty in Halifax.
  • Immigrant children face a poverty rate of 43.3% in Halifax (slightly higher than in the rest of the province), with recent arrivals faring the worst with a poverty rate over fifty percent. This is compared to the child poverty rate within Halifax for non-immigrants of 16.5%.
  • Indigenous children living off-reserve in HRM experience poverty at a rate of 22.1%.
  • As for family type, lone-parent families have significantly higher rates of poverty compared to two-parent families, with single mothers facing a poverty rate of 43%.

“We look forward to the release of HRM’s Poverty Solutions Strategy developed with community input, in partnership with the United Way Halifax. It is clear from just this short backgrounder on child and family poverty that any Poverty Solutions Strategy must advance clear goals and objectives to end poverty across the municipality, as well as working towards achieving racial justice and gender equity,” said Christine Saulnier, co-author and Nova Scotia Director for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. 


The Child and Family Poverty in Halifax: 2017 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Nova Scotia Addendum can be downloaded free at www.policyalternatives.ca/offices/nova-scotia.

For more information or to arrange interviews, contact CCPA-NS Director, Christine Saulnier at (902) 240-0926 (cell) or email [email protected] 

The CCPA-NS is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice, as well as environmental sustainability.