British Columbia has a sad distinction when it comes to seniors living in poverty.
According to a report card on seniors’ poverty, the province has the worst rate in Canada — 8.8 per cent of seniors in B.C. live in poverty compared to a national average of 6.6 per cent.
The report from the Lower Mainland United Way and the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia also found that over 15 years, the number of seniors living in poverty doubled — from nearly 34,000 people in 2000 to more than 70,000 in 2015.
Single seniors are also more than three times as likely to be poor than coupled seniors. The report found 16 per cent of single seniors in B.C. live in poverty, while nine per cent of seniors in B.C. live in poverty in coupled families.
“The B.C. Seniors’ Poverty Report Card provides compelling evidence that seniors’ poverty is a growing challenge across our province,” said Scott Graham, associate executive director and manager of research, planning and consulting with SPARC BC. “It provides clear evidence that specific poverty-reduction strategies for seniors are necessary.”
Report findings say this is evidence the government needs to do more work on poverty reduction in this area.