Argh! It’s nearly 3am, and despite a huge day yesterday, and a huge day ahead, I can’t sleep! Grrrrr. Might as well post my Tuesday post, which is another Grrrrr:
According to the Vancouver Foundation, my city, Vancouver, gets a big, black as a successful city.
Our vital signs were taken, our pulse so to speak and we’re in bad shape. Key findings are the following:
Minimum Wage Doesn’t Cover Basic Living Costs
The minimum wage in BC is currently $8.00 an hour. At this rate, a single person must work 38 hours per week to cover basic needs. A couple with two children needs to work more than 37 hours a week each to afford basic living expenses. While the minimum wage has not changed since 2001, the cost of living has increased 14% since then, making it more difficult to afford basic necessities.
Overall Poverty Rate
In 2005, the overall pre-tax poverty rate (the proportion of individuals falling below the Low Income Cut-Off) for people living in Metro Vancouver was 20%. Metro Vancouver, along with Montréal and Victoria, had the highest proportion of residents living in poverty among major Canadian CMAs. The overall regional poverty rate has climbed since 1980 but declined 8% from 2000 to 2005.
Good News!: Declining Poverty Rate Among Elderly
In 2005, the number of Metro Vancouver residents 65 years or older living in poverty (below the pre-tax Low Income Cut-Off) decreased by 18% between 1980 and 2005. Now that the mandatory retirement age of 65 years is being eliminated by the provincial government, many seniors can opt to work longer in order to increase their income. Many seniors continue to live on a fixed income, however, which can make them vulnerable to poverty and rising costs.
Appalling news: Child Poverty Remains a Concern
In 2005, 26% of children and youth under 18 years of age in Metro Vancouver lived in families with household incomes below the poverty line (below the pre-tax Low Income Cut-Off). Although the proportion of children living in poverty in our region dropped slightly between 2004 and 2005, child poverty rates have more than doubled since 1980 when the rate was only 12.5%. The incidence of child poverty across our region is high when compared to the overall rate for Canada — 17% in 2005.
Income Gap Is Widening
The gap between the rich and the poor increased by 8% between 2001 and 2005. In 2005, the average income for the richest 10% of the income spectrum in Metro Vancouver was $145,800, while the average income for the poorest 10% of Metro Vancouver’s population was only $14,100. This means the richest 10% had average incomes 10.3 times more than the poorest 10%. In 2001, the richest 10% had average incomes 9.5 times higher than the poorest 10%
And my personal piss-off:
And is it just me, or does something seem fundamentally WRONG when the majority of middle-income Vancouver residents simply cannot afford to buy a home, while areas like Coal Harbour get developed and sold to international investors … who then leave 30% of the units sitting empty, according to a fairly reliable source who works for the City?