Study shows improvements, but more needs to be done to end child poverty

A new report released Tuesday has outlined the lengths the province must go to eliminate child poverty.

The report, by the Edmonton Social Planning Council, the Alberta College of Social Workers and Public Interest Alberta was published Tuesday, and is one of many being released nation-wide by the national coalition, Campaign 2000.

In the report, titled Achieving the Promise: Ending Poverty in Alberta, the authors found about 91,000 children, or 11.3 percent of all Alberta children, were living below the low-income measure (LIM after tax) – and the poverty rate was higher for children under the age of six, with one in six (17.2 percent) living below the LIM.

The study also found more than half of children (52 percent) living in poverty had at least one parent working full time, year-round.

According to the study, the gap between the richest and the poorest families had grown – with the wealthiest 10 percent seeing their incomes double in two decades, while the bottom 10 percent saw only marginal increases in the same time.

Despite that, the report also states there was a twelve percent drop in the number of children in poverty from the year before, and the number of children that had been lifted out of poverty by government transfers had grown to more than 47 percent.

Still, one of the study’s authors said the government needs to do much more to fulfill a promise from Premier Alison Redford, to eliminate child poverty in five years.

“The latest data shows that while the government transfers and a strengthening economy is helping lift some children out of poverty, it is clear that much more needs to be done to address the barriers that result in 91,000 Alberta children living in low income,” Research coordinator for the Edmonton Social Planning Council, and lead author of the report John Kolkman said in a press release.

“There is immediate stuff that this government has known for years that they could do to start attacking that poverty problem right now,” NDP MLA Rachel Notley said Tuesday.

Click here to read the full report: Achieving the Promise: Ending Poverty in Alberta