Public opinion research non-profit Angus Reid Institute completed a nationwide Poverty as Lived Experience study earlier this year. This was unlike other studies on the topic as it focused on people’s experiences of poverty. This is what makes this even more interesting in our work because it the ways in which poverty limits people’s ability to fully participate in community. More than a measure of purchasing power, this gives us a better understanding of the impact of poverty on the experience of being in community and how it impacts our lives.
Some of key findings were that:
- 1 in 4 Canadians experience notable economic hardship.
- 21% say an inability to afford dental care has been a chronic problem for them in their lives.
- One-in-six are routinely unable to afford new clothes or good-quality groceries.
- One in seven have struggled with inadequate housing – spaces that are too small or too far from work or school – throughout their lives.
Looking at these experiences in aggregate, the Angus Reid Institute researchers are able to sort the Canadian population into four groups:
- The Struggling (16% of the total population),
- Those On the Edge (11%)
- Those who are Recently Comfortable (36%), and
- Those who are Always Comfortable (37%).
As their names suggest, the Struggling are facing financial challenges that are negatively affecting their quality of life, and those On the Edge are not far from joining them. Thinking about your own personal experience, where do you feel you would be categorized today? Has that changed from your childhood?
Now take a full look at the report here and think about it again, did any of your assessments change?