A new report from Vibrant Communities Calgary finds certain areas of poverty need further data and work.

Vibrant Communities Calgary released their Beneath The Surface report, which explores the different facets of wellbeing in Calgary. The report asks and answers the question: how are we really doing?

Our living wage calculation was included within the report which states that,  “The living wage is a proxy for the cost of living in a community and even though a small portion of the increase was attributed to a change in the calculation method, it’s more indicative of the high rate of inflation in 2022.” 

We want to take a look at a few key findings within the report surrounding employment and income: 

  • Income in Calgary fell for both households and individuals between 2015 and 2020. This impact was most significant for single people, couples without children, and older adults aged 55-64. 
  • The poverty rate in Calgary fell to 8.3% in 2020, down from 11.5% in 2015, but there was a concerning increase in poverty for those aged 18 – 24 – the only age group to report an increase.
  • Calgary remains the second most unequal city in Canada after Toronto in terms of distribution of income. 
  • After peaking during the pandemic, unemployment rates have returned to 2015-2016 levels of 5.2%. 
  • The greatest labor force in terms of industry in Calgary was wholesale and retail trade at 15%, with retail having the third lowest median wage of $24,890/year. 
  • The median wage declined most among Accomodation and Food Services, followed by Arts, Entertainment and Recreation, Agriculture, and Retail Trade.
  • 41,890 Calgarians are considered “working poor” and this number is especially important to track as the number of “gig” workers continues to grow. 
  • While unemployment rates are down there are concerns raised about the hours offered or pay not matching the increasing cost of living, especially food.

While the report revealed that Calgary is strong in certain areas of community wellbeing, income inequality and decent work are areas where Calgary falls short. We would encourage you to go Beneath The Surface and learn more.