Closer to Home: Child and Family Poverty in...

When approaching governmental and non-governmental organizations to discuss means of alleviating poverty’s effects, empirical evidence is normally regarded as the most effective. Recognizing a lack of evidence for Saskatoon, the Working Group on Child Poverty and its parent organization, Saskatoon Communities for Children, in partnership with the City of Saskatoon, initiated a study to quantify the extent of child and family poverty in Saskatoon neighbourhoods. In Closer to Home: Child and Family Poverty in Saskatoon, Maureen Jackson’s analysis suggests that “families living in poverty in Saskatoon are predominantly of Aboriginal ancestry, live on the city’s West side, tend to live in rented housing, and have low employmentrates” (p.1).

According to the Canadian Council on Social Development, over 13,000 children in Saskatoon—almost 27%—live in poverty. Saskatoon’s child poverty rate is higher than both Saskatchewan’s and Canada’s. Living in impoverished conditions means malnutrition and other health problems, educational restrictions, and many other psychosocial problems, such as being shunned by peers because of their poverty.

In a series of several highly detailed maps and comprehensive tables that divides Saskatoon into neighbourhoods, Jackson tabulates data that reveals a stark East-West division in Saskatoon regarding child and family poverty. The data also reveals the significant disproportion of Aboriginal people living in poverty. This report is an invaluable resource for any study of poverty in Saskatoon. The tables provide clear statistical evidence as to the demographics and geography of poverty in Saskatoon, while the maps have a visual strength that reinforce the findings. The evidence gathered in this investigation also led to the development of a report card on child poverty in Saskatoon.

Jackson, Maureen. (2004). Closer to Home: Child and Family Poverty in Saskatoon. Saskatoon: Community-University Institute for Social Research.