Increase of poverty rate in Houston

Houston Salvation Army food bank says they have noticed an increase since May 2017

According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 census, 14 per cent of the population of Houston in 2015 lived in low-income households.

This low-income housing statistic in Houston is higher than Smithers, (12 per cent), Fort St. James (11 per cent) and Vanderhoof (11 per cent), but equal to or less than Fraser Lake (14 per cent), and Burns Lake (19 per cent).

“I would say in about May of this year we have started seeing a large increase in new people and families accessing the food bank,” said Rachel Chapman, supervisor at the Houston Salvation Army Food Bank. “About half of the new people signed up are working and still need access to the food bank.”

Chapman reported that in August 2017 the Houston Salvation Army Food bank services 35 families, five of which were new to the service. Presently in September they have seen 24 families, with four new sign ups.

“The September report is only half of the month. So it will probably be higher numbers than August,” said Chapman.

Slightly more than 15 per cent of British Columbians remain under the low-income cutoff – a number that has barely changed in the past decade.

At 20.3 per cent, Port Alberni had the highest number of low-income earners. The greater Vancouver area sits at 16.5 per cent, in comparison, while Fort. St. John comes in the lowest with 7.3 per cent.

Low-income status is determined based on low-income measure, after-tax. For a one-person household, the after-tax low-income measure was $22,460 in 2015. For larger households, this amount was adjusted upward by multiplying it by the square root of household size.

The median income of households in Houston in 2015 was $70,336. The median income of households in Electoral Area B was $81,152 in 2015.

In 2015, the income of Houston couples saw 7 per cent of women with a higher income, 71 per cent of men with a higher income, and 22 per cent where partners had fairly an equal income. Compared to the Bulkley-Nechak0 G regional district electoral area, men continued to see a higher income percentage (66 per cent) to their female companions (11 per cent), with a slightly higher percentage than Houston (23 per cent) seeing the generate income at equal.

The 2016 census also shows that the population of Houston has decreased since 2011 from 3147 people to 2993 in 2016. (Statistics Canada does not include the First Nations population living on reserve).

British Columbians pocketing almost one-eighth more income

British Columbians are taking home 12.2 per cent more than they were 10 years ago.

Statistics Canada data released last week suggests that incomes in the province rose by 12.2 per cent between 2005 and 2015.

The figures place B.C. residents’ earnings seventh in Canada, but still above the national rate of 10.8 per cent. The province’s median household income was $69,995, compared to $70,336 Canada-wide.

– With files from Katya Slepian