Local poverty picture blurred by lack of data

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The road ahead: End of the long form census left local planners half blind

By Bill Dunphy

Back in 2005, when Hamilton’s Social Planning Research Council (SPRC) wanted to arm civic leaders with a good look at just who was living in poverty, researcher Mark Fraser was able to produce what he called the Poverty Matrix.

It’s a deceptively simple-looking collection of numbers sitting in colour-coded boxes, arranged on a grid, with raw numbers on the first page, and the same data expressed as percentages on the second.

The Poverty Matrix took the broad brush numbers about poverty in Hamilton (20 per cent of the population living in poverty) and broke it down into useful — and sometimes shocking — granular detail. It revealed, for example, that nearly one in four Hamilton children were living in poverty, and that 56 per cent of the city’s single-parent families were also poverty-stricken.

It revealed that recent immigrants, aboriginals and visible minorities were disproportionately poor.

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Article and image source: The Hamilton Spectator

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