Canada's Indigenous people more likely to experience poverty: Statistics

by IANS |

Ottawa, Nov 10 (IANS) The poverty rate among Indigenous people in Canada declined from 2015 to 2020 but they are more likely to experience poverty, according to official statistics.

Statistics Canada said on Wednesday that according to the 2021 Census of Population, the poverty rate for Indigenous people, excluding First Nations people living on reserve, fell from 23.8 per cent in 2015 to 11.8 per cent in 2020, reports Xinhua news agency.

Mirroring the overall poverty trend in Canada during this period, the decrease was mostly driven by increased government transfers and temporary pandemic-related benefits.

As a result, the poverty gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from 2015 to 2020 varied little, the national statistical agency said.

According to the census data, the poverty rate in Canada decreased from 14.5 per cent in 2015 to 8.1 per cent in 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the confirmation of unmarked graves at former residential school sites have brought renewed attention to the long-standing and ongoing socioeconomic inequities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

These inequities include a higher prevalence of poverty among First Nations people, Metis and Inuit, perpetuated by colonial policies and practices, including barriers to educational and economic opportunities, Statistics Canada said.

It noted that these statistics are based on the population living in private dwellings and on the concept of usual place of residence.

Poverty statistics based on census data may understate the situation of poverty among Indigenous people living in urban centres.

In Canada, a family is considered to be in poverty if, given its size and region of residence, it does not have enough income to buy a set of goods and services considered to represent a modest, basic standard of living.

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