Rate of Single Parent Families Living in Poverty


Percent share of low-income single-parent families in all single parent families.

Poverty is the condition of a person who is deprived of the resources, means, choices and power necessary to acquire and maintain a basic level of living standards and to facilitate integration and participation in society.

Why This Matters

Poverty affects the strength and resilience of our community. When some of us are left behind, all of us are affected.

“Single-parent households have less money and less time for children. To be sure, many single parents are heroic, but it’s a struggle. Studies “tell us that children raised by single parents are significantly more likely to have children young, to drop out of high school, and to work less as young adults,” writes sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia.” Investors Business Daily accessed November 7, 2019

Measurement and Limitations

In 2016 in Peterborough CMA, 36.5 percent of lone parent families were living in poverty based on the Low income Measure (after tax). The rate was down 5.9 percentage points from 2004 (42.4 percent) and down 1 percentage points from 2015 (37.5 percent). The 2016 figure was higher than the national average (36 percent) and higher than the Ontario average (33.9 percent). About one-quarter (23.7%) of people in single-parent families in Canada lived in poverty in 2014 according to the Low Income Cut-offs after tax. Furthermore, families led by single women tend to be more likely to live in poverty than those led by single men. It should be noted, however, that the situation of people in single-parent families, including those led by single mothers, has improved over time.

Low income situation of individuals is determined using the Census Family Low Income After-Tax Measure (CFLIM-AT). Individuals are defined as having low income if their adjusted after tax income falls below 50% of the total population median adjusted after-tax income. Adjusted after-tax income is derived by dividing census family income by the square root of the census family size and assigning this value to all persons in the census family. This adjustment distributes income among the members of the census family, and takes into account the economies of scale present in larger families, the increasing number of people living on their own and the decline in family size over time.

The information in this table is based on the updated methodology for Census Family Low Income After-Tax Measure (CFLIM-AT) statistics derived from the T1 Family File. The updated methodology was introduced in April 2018. Statistics based on the former methodology can be found in CANSIM table 111-0015. For more information on methodological changes, please consult the research paper ‘Methodology Changes: Census Family Low Income Measure Based on the T1 Family File’ (catalogue no. 75F0002M).

Data Source

Statistics Canada

Last update: June 2019. Source is updated annually

For more information on local initiatives, visit Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network (PPRN).


Investors Business Daily “Single Parenthood And Poverty, The Undeniable Connection” Accessed November 7, 2019

Towards a Poverty Reduction Strategy – A backgrounder on poverty in Canada – accessed November 7, 2019


Rate of Single Parent Families Living in Poverty in the Sustainable Development Goals

Click on the SDG to reveal more information

1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990. While this is a remarkable achievement, one in five people in developing regions still live on less than $1.90 a day, and there are millions more who make little more than this daily amount, plus many people risk slipping back into poverty.

Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.

Related Rate of Single Parent Families Living in Poverty Targets


By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions