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Falling fortunes: A report on the status of young families in Toronto

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Family Service Association of Toronto & Community Social Planning Council of Toronto
Publication Date: 
22 Jul 2004

Excerpts from the report:

Young people today are highly adaptable, better educated, and just as motivated as previous generations to succeed in the labour market. The Ontario economy has been growing strongly since the mid-1990s. Yet disadvantage among young families in Toronto is spreading and becoming entrenched.

The face of poverty in Ontario's largest city is increasingly that of the young - particularly young parents with children, young families from racialized groups, and young immigrant and Aboriginal families.

- Between 1981 and 2001, poverty rates among young families with children in Toronto increased by 56%.

- In 2001, 38.1% of all young families with children in Toronto lived in poverty, compared to 24.4% in 1981. Young families with children are more likely to be struggling than young families without children.

- Between 1981 and 2001, median incomes for Toronto's young families with children fell by 27.1% for the under-25 age group and by 18.4% for those 25-34.

- The median income for families aged 55-64 was more than 80% higher than those of families aged 25-34 in 2001. In 1981, it was only 34% higher.

- Immigrant families with children and families with children in racialized groups make up a higher proportion of the city's poor than they do the population as a whole.

- Toronto's poor families with children, regardless of the parents' age, are so poor that it would take, on average, more than $15,000 a year to get them up to the poverty line.

We propose action in the following key areas:

- Labour market policies that promote jobs with good wages and working conditions and that invest in maximizing people's potential through training and educational opportunities.

- Income security programs that provide benefits to support the extra costs associated with raising children, reduce and prevent poverty, and support parents who are out of the labour force.

- A strong community infrastructure that supports families and includes quality, affordable early learning and child care, safe affordable housing, accessible recreation programs, as well as other community supports.