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Statistics Canada: Bottom 20% of households spending over half their budgets on basic necessities

How hard is it to make ends meet these days?

February 12, 2016

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How hard is it to make ends meet these days?

New data released Friday by Statistics Canada shows low-income Canadians are spending over half their budgets on food, shelter and clothes – basic necessities.

“The 20% of households with the lowest income spent an average of $31,974 in 2014,” Statistics Canada reports. “Of this total, 51.2% was allocated to shelter, food, and clothing and accessories.”

On average, the bottom 20% of Canadian households spent $10,484 on shelter, $4,315 on food and $1,585 on clothes.

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Other big expenses for households in the bottom 20% include transportation (an average expense of $4,984 in 2014), household operations ($2,259), healthcare ($1,232) and education ($1,035).

But although households in the bottom 20% spent an average of $31,974, they’re likely spending more than they’re bringing in.

The latest available data on incomes in Canada shows the ceiling for being grouped in the bottom 20% of households was $26,200 in 2013.

Households in the bottom 20% spend on average $16,384 on food, shelter and clothing alone, representing 62.5% of the highest possible income one could earn while still being grouped in the bottom 20%. 

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While households in the bottom 20% spent over half their budgets on basic necessities, Statistics Canada’s data shows the top 20% of households spent “28.5% of their budgets on shelter, food, and clothing and accessories.”

Higher incomes mean bigger budgets, of course – top households spend an average of $46,167 on shelter, food and clothing each year, compared to $16,384 for the bottom 20%.

But the gap between what top (and middle) income households spend on their budgets versus what they spend on basic necessities only underlines the squeeze Canadian households at the bottom are feeling these days with the rising costs of housing and food.

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Photo: Shutterstock.

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5 dangerous myths about sexual assault perpetuated by the Jian Ghomeshi trial

Ghomeshi's defence has been widely criticized, with suggestions the aggressive cross-examination of witnesses revictimizes complainants and discourages women from reporting sexual assaults in the future.

February 11, 2016

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Note: This post was originally published on February 11, 2016. On March 24, a judge acquitted Ghomeshi on all charges. Many legal experts have argued the case highlights systemic problems in how Canada’s criminal justice system handles cases of sexual assault. 

A Toronto court heard final arguments Thursday in the trial of former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi.

Ghomeshi is charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking…