Calgary is booming but so many people are "working poor" in the city

Mar 9 2023, 8:09 pm

Calgary has a long way to go in regard to helping out people in poverty, according to a new report that looks at the layers of poverty across the city.

Vibrant Communities Calgary released an in-depth report stating that Calgary is only behind Toronto in terms of being an “unequal city.”

The organization says a big reason for this is the jump in what would be considered a liveable wage.

In 2021, a living wage was $18.60, but just one year later that number went up to $22.40.

The report goes on to say that over 40,000 Calgarians are considered “working poor,” which means they have a job but their pay is not matching the rising cost of living.

These numbers are also affecting people’s ability to afford a roof over their heads. The report states 18% of Calgarians need affordable housing and almost 3,000 were experiencing homelessness in 2022.

Putting food on the table has been a challenge for many, with 12% of families in Calgary marginally, moderately, or severely food insecure.

Vibrant Communities Calgary states there is a concern that things could get worse in the future, with 60% of Calgarians being able to afford post-secondary schooling. The organization is not sure what impact COVID-19 lockdowns had on students who were in school during those times.

The report says the problems can even start before kindergarten, with 33% of families in Calgary not having access to affordable childcare.

The report concludes, “A healthy city is a city where poverty can’t exist. Calgary has areas of strength and weakness. What the solutions are and how they’re accomplished are complexities of a much broader conversation that goes beyond this report.”

Quantitative data for the report was gathered from the 2021 Census, Statistics Canada surveys, custom data from the Community Data Program, and the Calgary Foundation’s 2022 Quality of Life report.

Their qualitative data came through 25 interviews with a diverse group of participants throughout Calgary.

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