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Food Banks Canada Report Reveals Widespread “Hidden Poverty”

Logan D Suza

A new report by Food Banks Canada sheds light on a potential underestimation of poverty in the country.

A new report by Food Banks Canada sheds light on a potential underestimation of poverty in the country. The report, titled “Measuring Poverty with a Material Deprivation Index (MDI): An Updated Index for Canada,” suggests that as many as 1 in 4 Canadians, or roughly 10 million people, may be living in poverty that goes unreported by traditional metrics.

This higher number arises from the use of a Material Deprivation Index (MDI) which goes beyond income levels. The MDI considers a wider range of factors including whether people can afford basic necessities like proper clothing, dental care, or even a small gift for a loved one.

“Many more people are feeling the impacts of poverty,” said the report’s authors. The traditional poverty line in Canada relies on income data, and the MDI suggests this might not capture the full picture.

The report found young people (30%), single-parent households (44%), and renters (42%) are particularly likely to be struggling to afford essentials. It also highlights that nearly a quarter (24%) of those facing material deprivation are employed, indicating a possible working poor situation.

Food Banks Canada sees this report as a call for a new approach to measuring poverty. They believe the MDI can be a valuable tool for designing better government programs to target those most in need. The report’s findings come amidst a rising cost of living in Canada, placing additional strain on household budgets.

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