Poverty and inequality among British Columbia’s seniors (2017)
POVERTY AND ECONOMIC INSECURITY present a unique hardship for seniors, particularly when combined with the many overlapping challenges of aging—chronic disease, loss of mobility, declining health and loss of spousal and community support. And given that BC’s population is aging, any gaps in our system of public supports for seniors will affect more and more people. This report uses Statistics Canada data to study the economic well-being of BC seniors. We take a closer look at the changes in the poverty rate among seniors over the last four decades in BC, examine income and wealth inequality among BC seniors, and compare seniors with working-age families. We broaden the analysis of economic insecurity among seniors to include indicators such as core housing need, the costs and accessibility of essential care and prescription medications, and food insecurity. In addition to age, key factors such as gender, race and ethnicity, education and occupation, disability, sexual identity and immigrant status affect the risk of facing economic insecurity. Looking at how these markers of identity intersect allows us to engage in a more nuanced discussion about poverty and inequality that better reflects the reality of seniors’ experiences and helps us develop more effective ways to support vulnerable members of our communities.