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The 2016 Toronto Vital Signs Report has found that Toronto remains the child poverty capital of Canada, with 28.6 per cent of children living in low-income households. Toronto tops the list above Montreal at 25%, Winnipeg at 24% and all other urban areas with over 500,000 residents. More than 1 in 4, or 144,000 children, living in households with incomes below Statistics Canada’s After-Tax Low-Income Measure. Of Toronto’s 140 neighbourhoods, 18 have child poverty rates above 40%. 

Some key findings from Divided City: Life in Canada's Child Poverty Capital:

  • Half of children in families with annual incomes under $30,000 do not regularly participate in out-of-school arts or sports programs (in contrast, only 7% of children in families with incomes over $100,000 don’t participate in these programs)
  • Children in families with low income have two or more vulnerabilitities related to physical development (17%) than children in families with higher incomes (9%) when entering Kindergarten
  • Children in schools with families in the top quartiles of income are 1.5-2 times more likely to meet or exceed Grade 3 provincial standards for reading, writing and math (compared to children in schools in the lowest-income quartile)
  • One-third of families with children under age 18 in Toronto are living in unaffordable housing, and 27% of families with children age 12 or under are living in housing that is unaffordable, overcrowded, or in poor state of repair
  • There has been a 48% increase in food bank use in Toronto’s inner suburbs since 2008, and children across Toronto appear to be at increased risk of going hungry

For some highlights from the Toronto Vital Signs Report, read the Toronto Star edition below!