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Census 2016: African Nova Scotian poverty rates through the roof, unemployment numbers terrible

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – As reported earlier 2016 census data recently released by Statistics Canada showed poverty to be more rampant in Nova Scotia than any other province, with 17.2% of its population (or 155,000 persons) considered low income.

Bad as these numbers may be, they dwindle when compared to  poverty rates among African Nova Scotians, who face poverty rates of 32.1%, twice the number experienced by whites.

Photo CBC

These Nova Scotia numbers are not easily shrugged off. Nation-wide 23.9% of Black Canadians live in poverty. That’s much higher than the nation-wide numbers for whites (12.2%), but not nearly as high as the Nova Scotia numbers.

Newfoundland and Labrador, and PEI place higher than Nova Scotia in this shameful runoff, but their Black populations are much smaller. Larger provinces like Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia all clock in at 24%.

For African Nova Scotian youths between ages 18 and 24  the poverty rate is a whopping 50.2%. And 39.6% of African Nova Scotian children up to 17 years old live in poverty.

There are some regional differences as well, Halifax, at 32.9%, aligns pretty well with the provincial average, but 43.2% of the Black population in Kentville lives in poverty.  

Unemployment rates among Nova Scotia’s Black population at 16.2% are also much higher than unemployment among whites, which sits at 9.8%. 26.4% of Black youths between the ages of 20 and 24 are unemployed, compared to 18.7% of their white counterparts.

It’s not a matter of Black Nova Scotians giving up. Stat Canada data suggest that slightly more African Nova Scotians are actively trying to find a job than whites.  

I apologize, there are a lot of numbers and a lot of details in this article. They’re important numbers though, because what they point at is the ongoing racism in this province that stops African Nova Scotians from finding good jobs and work their way out of poverty.

Anti-Black racism exists Canada-wide of course, but as the Statistics Canada numbers suggest, when it comes to poverty and employment racism is more entrenched here than most anywhere else.

Notes: We used the Stat Canada Low Income Measure – After Tax definition of poverty, a fixed percentage (50%) of median adjusted after-tax income of private households. Believe me, although calculation-based, it spells poverty in a very real way.

The Statistics Canada website is hard to navigate, and it is difficult to link to individual data sets. For the employment statistics I used table 98-400-X2016286. For the poverty rates analysis I used table 98-400-X2016211. Just search for them on the StatCan website.  

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One Comment

  1. This sounds a lot like North Preston in HRM is basically another Ferguson. High rates of blacks living in poverty, high black unemployment, poor educational outcomes, crime, gun violence, and racism in the surrounding Nova Scotia community. I’m sure there are a handful of black Nova Scotians doing well, but as a collective, not really as I see. The African Nova Scotian community needs to pull itself together real strong and real solid. They need to be growing their own food, building barbershops, hair salons, producing their own clothes, and building their own damn schools in the church house or a basement if need be and start building their own shit on all fronts. They ain’t got no time for moaning and groaning about what ain’t right and how shit ain’t fair. Fuck that. That’s bullshit. Grow food and buy and sell with each other and to whoever else wanna buy and get some vegetarian restaurants and health food stores going. Take control of your community, take ownership of your life.

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