Poverty: Issues Facing Women

  • In Canada, more than 1.9 million women (age 18 and up) live on a low income, and more than 2.4 million women and girls (13.8%) are living on a low income as of 2016, based on low-income measures after tax.
  • A 2018 Angus Reid study also indicated that women are more likely than men to experience poverty. The study looked at Canadians’ self-reported experiences of financial hardships. It suggests that 16% of Canadians could be categorized as “struggling” economically. This means that they face ongoing difficulty covering expenses for basics including food, utilities, winter clothing, housing, and dental care, and may have to use services including “payday loans” and food banks to get by. 60% of those in the “struggling” category are women, while 40% are men.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 Atlantic Canadian women live in poverty. Single mothers and unattached elderly women have the highest poverty rates, with more than 70% of Nova Scotian single mothers living below Statistics Canada’s low-income cut-off.


  1. Statistics Canada. Low income statistics by age, sex and economic family type, 2016 data.
  2. Angus Reid Institute. July 2018. What Does Poverty Look Like in Canada? http://angusreid.org/poverty-in-canada/
  3. MacEwen, A., & Saulnier, C. 2010. The cost of poverty in Nova Scotia. CCPA-Nova Scotia. https://www.feednovascotia.ca/images/Cost_of_Poverty_in_Nova_Scotia.pdf