This year’s Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Nova Scotia identifies a slight decrease in child poverty, with 1,600 children lifted out of poverty between 2014 and 2015. Overall, this decrease represented less than a percentage point change, with 21.6% of Nova Scotia children living in poverty. Nova Scotia had the third-highest provincial child poverty rate, and the highest rate in Atlantic Canada.
Poverty rates in Nova Scotia do vary widely by community from a low of 3.9% in Fall River, part of the Halifax Regional Municipality, to a high of 72.7% in Eskasoni (postal area). Eighteen communities in Nova Scotia had child poverty rates over 30% – ten on Cape Breton Island.
The report card also reveals very troubling inequities among children based on race and ethnicity. Over one-third (37.4%) of visible minority children living in poverty, 40.3% of immigrant children, and 25.6% of Aboriginal children, The highest poverty rates for visible minority groups were 67.8% of Arab children in Nova Scotia, 50.6% of Korean children. In addition, 39.6% of Black children were reported to be living in poverty. Not surprising, several communities with high poverty rates also have higher concentrations of these groups including many of the communities on Cape Breton Island that include a First Nations reserve, as well as communities predominantly populated by African Nova Scotians, like East Preston (rate of 38.9%) and North Preston (rate of 40%).