This month our focus is on a significant risk factor for trauma, child poverty. To start, we want to give a snapshot of child poverty in New Brunswick.
Child poverty is a problem throughout Canada, and New Brunswick is no different; 21% of our children live in poverty. Child poverty rates vary by region from a low of 12% in Dieppe and as high as 31.5% in Saint John. The cost of poverty in New is estimated at $2 billion a year in our relatively small province.
One in five children in New Brunswick lives in poverty.
The rate of child poverty is significantly higher among single mothers and marginalized communities. In New Brunswick, 50.5% of children in lone parent families in are living in poverty, compared to 10.0% of children in couple-headed families.
The impact of poverty on the health of children in New Brunswick is significant. More than half of children in poverty report mental health symptoms. 75% do not get 8 hours of sleep, and only 25% eat breakfast every day, almost 50% less than their peers. a night. They are more than three times as likely to smoke daily, and twice as likely to live with someone who smokes. These are some of the factors that lead to just under half of these children reporting good health.
51% of children in single parent homes live in poverty
10% of children in couple headed homes live in poverty
Children living in poverty in New Brunswick report higher levels of social and community exclusion – more than half feel socially excluded. 70% of youth in poverty surveyed say they have been bullied, and the same amount, 70%, do not feel their family would stand by them at difficult times.
The rate of oppositional behaviours is significantly higher then the rest of the youth population in New Brunswick, at 34%. Less than half of youth in poverty think that an education is important to them. 45% of these youth do not feel their opinion in a classroom is important.
Child poverty rates in New Brunswick fluctuate, but progress is being made. Their are many departments of the Province that have a mandate related to child poverty, and several have developed extensive strategies to battle this pervasive issue. As New Brunswickers, being aware of the issues that face our children, families, and communities is even more important – what action can you take to have an impact on child poverty in your community?
New Brunswick Poverty Progress Profile (PDF), Canada Without Poverty
New Brunswick’s 2019 Child Poverty Report Card (PDF), Human Development Council
State of the Child 2019 (PDF), New Brunswick Child & Youth Advocate