Challenge 20/20: Ending Poverty

Polytechnic School and Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School



Who We Are

NAIS Challenge

Our Program




The Faces of Poverty

Differing Views

Questions and Answers

Statistics and Demographics


How to Help

Steps Taken

What Can We Do?



Service Organizations

Find Out More



Email Us


"Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn't commit."
Eli Khamarov, Lives of the Cognoscenti

Statistics and Demographics

Poverty in Pasadena:

In 2000, 14.9% of households in Pasadena were below the poverty level. This is higher than both the national poverty level and the California poverty level. Pasadena is located roughly 10 miles outside of Los Angeles and in L.A County. 17.9% of all people in the county fall below the poverty level, compared to a national rate of 12.4%, and a poverty rate in California of 14.2%. One of the many homeless shelters in Pasadena is the Union Station Foundation. Our school, Polytechnic, is close to this organization and makes sandwiches once a week that are dropped off at the homeless shelter. We also have students from the lower school, middle school, and upper school donate their time to this organization to help fight poverty within Pasadena.

For more some interesting statistics about Pasadena go to: Pasadena Statistics of Poverty

For more about Los Angeles County go to: Los Angeles Poverty Information

Poverty in the United States:

Approximately 11.9% of the US population lives in poverty. The three states with the highest percentages of poverty are Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Mexico. The three states with the lowest poverty rate are New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Connecticut. (U.S. Census Bureau)

United States
New Mexico
New Hampshire
Number of People 32,791,272

Percentage of the US Population in poverty since 1959:


This graph shows the percent of people in families that are in poverty in the U.S as of 2002. As you can see the graphs are broken up into four sections. Female householder families with no workers make up a staggering 70% of people in poverty.

This graph shows the number of months people have spent in poverty from 1996 to 1999. Of the people that were in poverty over this three year period, 51.1% were in poverty for only 2 to 4 months. This 51 % is able to sometimes take care of themselves and bring themselves out of poverty. However, people who have been in poverty for over a year are the ones that need the most help.

Comparing Poverty: Canada and the World

How Canada stacks up among similar states

While Canada routinely ranks among the top three countries in the world for overall living standards, UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) has criticized the Canadian government for maintaining disproportionately high levels of child poverty.



OECD Child Poverty Statistics

Child poverty statistics (i.e. the percentage of families with children under the age of 18 whose income is half or less of the average national income) were also provided. USA has one of the highest rates of relative child poverty of all OECD members. 22.4 percent of its children live in poverty; second only to

• Mexico, with 26.2 percent
• Italy’s rate is 20.5 percent
• United Kingdom sits at 19.8 percent
• Turkey 19.7 percent
• Canada is at 15.5 percent
• Australia at 12.6 percent
• Germany at 10.7 percent
• Hungary at 10.3 percent
• France at 7.9 percent
• Finland at 4.4 percent
• Sweden 2.6 percent

The report found an overall correlation between higher levels of public expenditures and lower relative poverty measures.

- Poverty Rates
Country Mid 1980s Most Recent
Australia 12.2 9.3
Austria 6.1 7.4
Belgium 10.5 7.8
Canada 11.6 10.3
Denmark 7.0 5.0
Finland   4.9
France 8 7.5
Germany 6.4 9.4
Greece 13.4 13.8
Hungary   7.3
Ireland 11 11
Italy 10.3 14.2
Mexico 21.3 21.9
Netherlands 3.4 6.3
Norway 6.9 10
Sweden 5.3 6.4
Switzerland   6.2
Turkey 16.4 16.2
United Kingdom 6.9 10.9
United States 18.3 17.0
Förster, M. (2000), “Trends and driving factors in income distribution and poverty in the OECD area”,
Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Paper, No. 42, OECD, Paris.

Poverty in Calgary :

In 2000, 12.5% of Calgarians lived below the Low-Income Cutoffs (LICO). Low Income Cutoffs are a measurement of poverty that is used in Canada. They are defined as “ income thresholds below which families will likely devote a larger share of income to the necessities of food, shelter and clothing than the average family would”.

2002 Low-Income Cutoffs for
Canadian Cities with 500,000+ Persons
(Based on 1992 base pre-tax income)

Family Unit Size LICO
1 person $19,261
2 persons $24,077
3 persons $29,944
4 persons $36,247
5 persons $40,518
6 persons $44,789
7 or more persons $49,060

In 2002, over 22,000 Calgarians relied on social assistance and 48, 311 individuals received food hampers up 11% from 2001. In 2002, Homelessness was up 34% and the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment was up 2.7%. Alberta has the lowest minimum wage in Canada ($5.90 per hour).

Recently, a United Way report found that 12.5 per cent of Calgarians – including more than one in 10 children – live in poverty. Of those Calgarians, 30 per cent live in poverty for more than three years. The report also points to a growing income gap between rich and poor in Calgary. The poorest 10 per cent of Calgarians had an average income of $13,000 in 2000 (the most recent year stats are available), whereas the average income of the top 10 per cent was $248,600 – that gap is larger than the average in both the country and the province.

For some interesting facts about Calgary go to:

For some interesting statistics about Poverty in Calgary go to:

For a recent article about poverty in Calgary, go to: