7.2.3 Percentage of youth aged 18 to 24 years living in poverty*, by Indigenous identity, Canada, 2015

First Nations Métis Inuit Non-Indigenous
Indigenous Identity 29.4 16.7 16.7 16.4

*Living under the low income measure – after tax
The estimates associated with this variable are more affected than most by the incomplete enumeration of certain Indian reserves and Indian settlements in the Census of Population.

Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from Statistics Canada – 2016 Census. Catalogue Number 98-400-X2016173.

In 2015, 29% of First Nations youth aged 18 to 24 years were living in poverty, that is, below the low-income measure after tax.

That was the case for 17% of Métis youth, 17% of Inuit youth, and 16% of non-Indigenous youth.

While the socio-economic conditions of Indigenous families vary greatly, a history of colonization, including social exclusion and political and economic marginalization, has contributed to many Indigenous families facing numerous and persistent disadvantages. Indigenous children are more likely to live in poverty than non-Indigenous children, especially First Nations children living on reserve.1 Growing up in a household with persistent poverty is a major determinant of Indigenous children’s health and well-being with substantial cumulative impacts.2 Poverty affects healthy child development and leads to poorer health outcomes, not only in young children but later in life as adults.3 Chronic poverty can result in food insecurity and nutritional deficiencies, with poorer physical health outcomes including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. It can impact children’s cognitive development, with impacts to academic success with consequences across the life course. It can also impact children’s emotional and mental development, as poverty can foster parental stresses and negative coping strategies, like substance abuse and family violence, which are experienced and internalized by children. However, the impact of poverty on children’s health can be mediated through an increased focus on family time, family assets, parenting styles, parenting relationships, and high quality schools.2

1Macdonald, D., & Wilson, D. (2016). Shameful neglect: Indigenous child poverty in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
2Phipps, S. (2003). The impact of poverty on health: A scan of research literature. Canadian Population Health Initiative. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Institute for Health Information. Retrieved September 12, from https://secure.cihi.ca/free_products/CPHIImpactonPoverty_e.pdf
3Paul-Sen Gupta, R., de Wit, M.L., & McKeown, D. (2007). The impact of poverty on the current and future health status of children. Paediatric Child Health, 12(8), 667-672.