Upon reviewing the definitions of poverty and low-income, I suspect I fall more into the latter.
There’s a lot of controversy around what the real definition of poverty is. When I’ve thought of poverty in the past, a picture similar of what you see in this post is what comes to my mind.
In reality, there are two types of poverty: relative or absolute. Relative poverty refers to the distance from the community norm while absolute poverty refers to the inability to meet basic needs.
No official definition of ‘low-income’ exists, however Statistics Canada measures it in three different ways;
- Low income cut-off (LICO) – Based on the ability to purchase necessities. This is compares income thresholds below which families devote a larger share of income to the necessities of food, shelter and clothing than the average family would.
- Low income measure (LIM) – Based on inequality and to measure income for international comparison.
- Market basket measure (MBM) – Based on a household’s ability to afford necessities. This represents a standard of living that is a compromise between subsistence and social inclusion that reflects differences in living costs across the country (based on 2 adults and 2 children per family).
Whether I define the reality of my situation as being in poverty or low income is irrelevant. The fact is, I’m struggling not only to make ends meet, but to cover my basic needs of food, shelter and clothing.
My entire income assistance cheque doesn’t cover my shelter costs. The little amount of extra income I make sometimes doesn’t cover food. My child tax benefit cheque pays bills – internet and phone. My child support is meant for keeping my daughter safe to/from school, but often gets put towards food or the amount remaining on my shelter costs.
Although there are benefits to being in the low income tax bracket, I don’t recommend you get your life to the point where you have to find out.