Research summary - Profile of individuals at risk of persistent poverty

Official title of the full report: Profile of individuals at risk of persistent poverty

Author of the full report: Hélène Roberge

Alternate formats

Profile of individuals at risk of persistent poverty [PDF - 261 KB]

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Why this study

Among Canadians aged 18 to 64, there are 5 groups at higher risk of poverty:

  • single parents
  • single persons aged 45 to 64
  • Indigenous Canadians living off-reserve
  • recent immigrants, and
  • persons with a physical or mental disability involving reduced work activity

These individuals are 3 times more likely to live in poverty than the rest of the population. This demonstrates that this issue needs to be addressed in more detail.

What we did

The 2019 Canadian Income Survey (CIS) was used for this study. Descriptive tables were used to determine:

  • the socio-demographic and socio-economic profiles of at-risk groups
  • the characteristics most strongly associated with persistent poverty, and
  • the effect of cumulative vulnerabilities

Finally, logistic regressions confirmed the results of the descriptive analysis and the strength of association between characteristics.

What we found

The results show that there are common poverty factors among at-risk groups, such as:

  • non-participation in the labour market
  • membership in more than one at-risk group, or
  • low educational attainment

However, some characteristics are more strongly associated with poverty in specific groups, such as:

  • single mothers
  • recent immigrants who are members of a visible minority group

What this means

Investments by Canada improve the economic well-being of Canadians. Various programs and tax benefits aim to support the most vulnerable populations. These measures include:

  • the Canada Child Benefit
  • Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement for Seniors, and
  • the Canada Workers Benefit

This study is an update to a previous project at ESDC. The analysis is based on 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic. The study provides a snapshot of at-risk individuals prior to implementation of emergency programs. Subsequent research may also focus on the post-pandemic period. Comparing these 2 periods would provide information on the economic adjustment of at-risk individuals. We could also assess the actual impact of the pandemic on the incidence of poverty.

Contact us

Strategic and Service Policy Branch, Social Policy Directorate, Social Research Division


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