A graph from Statistics Canada compares the low income rate across B.C. STATS CANADA PHOTO

A graph from Statistics Canada compares the low income rate across B.C. STATS CANADA PHOTO

Port Alberni is B.C.’s low-income capital

One-fifth of the population living in low-income status, according to 2016 census

A report from Statistics Canada shows the city of Port Alberni with the highest proportion of low income people in B.C.

One-fifth of the population is living in low-income status.

The city is also among B.C.’s lowest income increases, according to the 2016 census, with the median income dropping over a 10-year period.

The median total income of households in Port Alberni in 2015 was $50,823, a change of -1.4% from $51,560 in 2005. Only Quesnel saw a bigger drop in incomes B.C. wide, at -7.7%.

In 2015, 23.5% of the people living in the city of Port Alberni lived in low income. This is an increase from 2005, where 20.8% of the persons in Port Alberni lived in low income. This is also higher than the British Columbia average, which sits at 15.5%, and the Canadian average, at 14.2%.

Port Alberni Shelter Society executive director Wes Hewitt said that these statistics were not surprising to him, based on the work that he does in the community.

“We can see it in our demand for housing and shelter,” he said. “We’ve got a housing crisis in the community based on affordability.”

With a high cost of living and a low income rate, people are often left unable to afford basic necessities such as food or shelter, he added.

But Hewitt said it is not just a Port Alberni problem.

“That’s what we’re seeing on the Island as a whole,” he said.

Port Alberni mayor Mike Ruttan agreed that the statistics were not entirely surprising.

“It’s verification for what we already know about our community,” said Ruttan. He acknowledged that many people in Port Alberni are living in poverty, and with this comes a lot of problems.

“Housing is a major problem for us,” he said. “And as the cost of housing rises, it’s going to become increasingly so.”

He said that over the past two years, the city of Port Alberni has been working to increase the number of economic opportunities and increase the number of well-paying jobs in the city. “There are a lot of changes coming, but these changes don’t come overnight,” he added.

But the statistics in Port Alberni aren’t all doom-and-gloom.

“We obviously have a concern in almost every area with the exception of one,” said Ruttan. “Seniors have a higher average income here than elsewhere in B.C. If you’re a senior and you’re needing support, the place to consider living is Port Alberni.”

The low-income rate in the city of Port Alberni in 2015 for persons under 18 years of age was 33.5% compared to 23.2% for persons aged 18-64, and 15.8% for persons 65 and over in 2015.

Persons living in lone-parent families had a higher rate of low income, at 47.0%, while those living in couple families without children had a lower rate of low income, at 9.2%.

Numbers look slightly better if you include the census agglomeration area, which includes Beaver Creek, Cherry Creek and Sproat Lake, with 20.3% of people living in low income and a $55,131 median income.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A graph from Statistics Canada shows the percentage of persons in low income by age groups. STATS CANADA PHOTO

A graph from Statistics Canada shows the percentage of persons in low income by age groups. STATS CANADA PHOTO

Just Posted

Marilyn Beuckert, a member of Port Alberni’s Community Action Team, hammers the final stake holding red ribbons that represent the 46 people from mid- Vancouver Island who have died of drug overdoses in 2020. The display went up Dec. 4, 2020 in front of the Salvation Army building at Argyle Street and Fourth Avenue. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Red ribbons mark drug overdose deaths in poignant Port Alberni display

Each ribbon signifies a person who died in mid Vancouver Island: CAT team

The Alberni Valley Non-Contact Hockey League has suspended play under provincial health orders despite having a strict COVID-19 safety plan. (FILE PHOTO COURTESY TREVOR ZADO)
Adult sports shutdown ‘tough pill to swallow’ says Alberni hockey league president

Hockey, curling suspend play under new provincial COVID-19 orders

Renovations are complete at the Bread of Life and following a final health inspection, the warming centre at the Third Avenue facility will be open a few days a week. (PHOTO COURTESY BREAD OF LIFE SOCIETY)
Port Alberni’s warming centre close to opening

Organizers aim for Dec. 4 pending final health inspection

”Once upon a time…” (METRO CREATIVE)
QUINN’S QUIPS: Who is the creature in the shiny red mask?

Annual Alberni Valley News story contest kicks off for 2020

FILLING THE KETTLES
Hayden Henschel, 3, has fun slipping coins into a Salvation Army kettle on Wednesday, Nov. 25 in front of Walmart. Henschel was shopping with her family when they stopped to make a donation to the kettle campaign. To donate online, visit the website www.fillthekettle.com. (SONJA DRINKWATER/ Special to the AV News)
Port Alberni Salvation Army’s kettle campaign seeks donations

Contact-less donations are available online

A snow moon rises over Mt. Cheam in Chilliwack on Feb. 8, 2020. Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 is Mountain Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Dec. 6 to 12

Mountain Day, Dewey Decimal System Day and Lard Day are all coming up this week

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
First Nations Leadership Council demands justice for victims of B.C. social worker

Union of BC Indian Chiefs calls actions of Robert Saunders ‘nothing short of complete depravity’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Montreal Alouettes’ Michael Sam is set to make his pro football debut as he warms up before the first half of a CFL game against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Sam became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes after being released by St. Louis, but abruptly left after playing one game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Study finds Canada a ‘laggard’ on homophobia in sports

Among females, 44 per cent of Canadians who’ve come out to teammates reported being victimized

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Most Read