What is low income in Canada?

By | July 18, 2023

Low income is a term used to describe individuals or families who earn less than, or at least not significantly more than, the poverty level. 

According to data from Statistics Canada, in 2014, 8.8% of Canadians had a low income based on the Low Income Cut-off After Tax metric. This means that approximately 3 million Canadians were living in poverty.

The percentage was highest for those within the age range of 18–64, where 10% were living in low-income status. For seniors over the age of 65, the percentage was 3.9%.


A family is thought to have a low income if it spends 20% more than the average family on food, shelter, and clothing. 

What is considered low income in Canada?

Low income in Canada is defined as being below a fixed percentage of income. The Low-Income Measure defines low income as being below 50% of the median household income. The following are the income thresholds for households of different sizes to be considered low-income:

  • Households with 1 person = $24,500 or less in income
  • Households with 2 people = $35,500 or less in income
  • Households with 3 people = $42,500 or less in income

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