What Is The Poorest City In Canada?

Canada is known around the world as a prosperous nation with a high standard of living. However, not all cities and towns across this vast country enjoy the same level of affluence. If you’re wondering which city has the biggest poverty problem and the lowest incomes in Canada, read on as we examine the data to uncover the poorest city in the country.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Based on statistics on low income rates and high unemployment, the poorest city in Canada is Saint John, New Brunswick.

Examining Poverty Levels Across Canadian Cities

When it comes to poverty levels in Canada, it is important to analyze the data across different cities to get a comprehensive understanding of the issue. Several key factors contribute to poverty levels, including low income rates, unemployment rates, and housing affordability.

By examining these factors, we can gain insight into which cities in Canada face the greatest challenges in terms of poverty.

Low Income Rates

Low income rates play a significant role in determining the poverty levels of a city. Cities with a high percentage of residents earning low incomes are more likely to have higher poverty rates. According to recent statistics, Toronto has one of the highest low income rates in the country.

This can be attributed to various factors, including a high cost of living and a large population with diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

Other cities in Canada, such as Vancouver and Montreal, also face challenges when it comes to low income rates. These cities have a high concentration of low-income neighborhoods, where residents struggle to make ends meet.

It is crucial for policymakers to address these issues and implement strategies to uplift these communities.

Unemployment Rates

Unemployment rates are another important indicator of poverty levels in a city. High unemployment rates can directly contribute to higher poverty rates, as individuals and families struggle to secure stable income. St.

John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador, has experienced a rise in unemployment rates in recent years, leading to an increase in poverty levels.

Similarly, Windsor in Ontario has faced economic challenges due to the decline in the automotive industry, resulting in higher unemployment rates. This has had a significant impact on the poverty levels in the city, as many individuals have lost their jobs and struggle to find alternative employment opportunities.

Housing Affordability

Housing affordability is another crucial factor that contributes to poverty levels in Canadian cities. High housing costs can place a significant financial burden on individuals and families, making it difficult for them to meet other basic needs.

Vancouver has consistently ranked as one of the least affordable cities in Canada in terms of housing, with skyrocketing prices and limited rental options.

Other cities, such as Toronto and Victoria, also face challenges when it comes to housing affordability. The demand for housing in these cities has outpaced supply, driving up prices and making it increasingly difficult for low-income individuals and families to find affordable housing options.

It is important for policymakers to prioritize affordable housing initiatives and implement measures to address the housing crisis in these cities. By focusing on increasing affordable housing options, we can help alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life for residents.

The Poorest City: Saint John, New Brunswick

Income and Poverty Statistics

Saint John, located in the province of New Brunswick, is often regarded as the poorest city in Canada. According to the latest statistics, the city has a high poverty rate and a significantly lower median household income compared to other cities in the country.

In fact, a report from Statistics Canada revealed that the median household income in Saint John is only $34,000 per year, which is well below the national average.

The poverty rate in Saint John is also alarming, with approximately 20% of the population living below the poverty line. This means that one in every five residents struggles to meet their basic needs, including food, shelter, and healthcare.

The combination of low income levels and high poverty rates poses significant challenges for the residents of Saint John and the local economy as a whole.

Labor Market Challenges

One of the key reasons for Saint John’s high poverty rate is the significant labor market challenges that the city faces. The local economy heavily relies on industries such as manufacturing, fishing, and forestry, which have experienced a decline in recent years.

This has resulted in job losses and limited employment opportunities for residents, particularly those with lower levels of education and skills.

Furthermore, Saint John has also been grappling with an aging population and a lack of diversity in its labor force. This further exacerbates the employment challenges, as there is a mismatch between the skills required by employers and the skills possessed by the local workforce.

As a result, many individuals in Saint John struggle to find stable and well-paying jobs, leading to income disparities and poverty.

Impact on Housing

The high poverty rates in Saint John have a direct impact on the housing situation in the city. With limited income levels, many residents find it difficult to afford adequate housing, resulting in overcrowding and substandard living conditions.

The lack of affordable housing options further perpetuates the cycle of poverty, as individuals and families are unable to secure stable and safe housing.

Moreover, the limited job opportunities and low income levels also make it challenging for residents to access homeownership. The homeownership rate in Saint John is significantly lower compared to national averages, with many individuals relying on rental accommodation.

However, even the rental market can be challenging, as the demand for affordable rental units often exceeds the supply, leading to higher rental costs.

Other Notable Mentions for High Poverty

Thunder Bay, Ontario

While Windsor may hold the title for the poorest city in Canada, it is important to note that there are other cities in the country that also face high poverty rates. One such city is Thunder Bay, located in Ontario.

Despite its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, Thunder Bay struggles with poverty issues.

According to the official website of Thunder Bay, the poverty rate in the city is higher than the national average. Factors such as a lack of employment opportunities and high living costs contribute to this problem.

The city has been working on initiatives to address poverty and improve the quality of life for its residents.

Saguenay, Quebec

Another city that deserves mention when discussing poverty in Canada is Saguenay, located in the province of Quebec. Saguenay is known for its beautiful landscapes and thriving tourism industry, but it also faces high poverty rates.

Statistics Canada reports that Saguenay has a poverty rate higher than the national average. The city has a lower median income and higher unemployment rates compared to other cities in the province. Efforts are being made to create more job opportunities and address poverty-related issues in the region.

St. John’s, Newfoundland

St. John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador, is another notable mention when it comes to high poverty rates in Canada. While the city is known for its vibrant culture and friendly people, poverty remains a significant challenge.

According to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John’s has a poverty rate that exceeds the provincial average. The city faces unique challenges due to its remote location and dependence on certain industries.

Efforts are being made to diversify the economy and provide support to those in need.

It is essential to acknowledge that poverty is not limited to a single city in Canada. Many other cities and regions across the country also face similar challenges. Addressing poverty requires a comprehensive approach that includes job creation, affordable housing, access to education, and social support programs.


In reviewing data on incomes, unemployment, and housing across Canadian cities, we can definitively say that Saint John, New Brunswick stands out as the poorest city in Canada. With high rates of low income and joblessness along with lower housing prices, Saint John grapples with economic hardship more than any other city in the country.

While Saint John tops the list, other cities like Thunder Bay, Saguenay and St. John’s also face above average poverty levels and demonstrate Canada’s uneven distribution of wealth between communities.

Understanding where poverty is concentrated can help governments address regional economic challenges.

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