Greater Montreal's VitalSigns 2007
Foundation of Greater Montreal's Website
Gap Between Rich and Poor

The cost of healthy nutrition has grown faster than income, especially for those at the bottom of the ladder. Fortunately, helping hands are alleviating the impact.

  • Population under the Low-Income Threshold * By family type, Montreal CMA, 2004
    source : Institut de la statistique du Québec 2

    * The low-income measurement is based on 50% of the after-tax median family income in Quebec. The median income is adjusted for family size.

    In the metropolitan area, 23.7% of families were in the low-income category in 2005, a number close to the 2000 figure (23.5%). That proportion was 5.3% higher than the Quebec average and 9.2% higher than the Canadian average. 1

  • In 2004, the proportion of low-income couples with or without children was lower in Longueuil than in the city of  Montreal (41.7% vs. 45.9%), while the proportion of single-parent was higher (26.7% vs. 22.7%), as was the case in Laval (24,7 %). 2

  • That same year, 512,080 people were classified as being low-in come in Greater Montreal, equal to 14.2% of the whole population. Across the island, the number was 356,780 (19%), including 99,750 children and 10,450 persons 65 years old and over. Among the children, 45.5% were in single-parent families. 3


    Proportions of Low-income Families By type of family, 2004
    Source: Institut de la statistique du Québec 2

    ** Non-family persons are persons who are not part of a census family – that is, a family that includes a couple or a single-parent family. Some live with a married son or daughter, or with a son or daughter and a grandchild. Others live with a family with which they may or may not be related. Finally, some live alone or with other non-census-family persons.

    • In 2004, for every $100 in employment income earned in Greater Montreal, $16.54 was paid in government transfers. On the island, the amount was $19.74, with 57.9% being made up of benefits from the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans, and Old-Age Security pensions. 4
    • On the island, 35.4% of men and 48.2% of women aged 65 and over received the Guaranteed Income Supplement in 2005.*** In all of Quebec, these proportions were higher by more than 6 percentage points (42.1% and 54.5%). 5
      *** The Guaranteed Income Supplement complements the Old-Age Security pension to provide additional income for low-income elderly people.
    • The cost of healthy nutrition on the island in 2007 has been estimated at $6.11 per person per day for a typical family of four (parents aged around 40, with a 14-year old son and a 9-year old daughter) – about $171 a week. Two years ago, the weekly amount was $154. 6
    In Quebec, collective kitchens first appeared in Montreal’s Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district in 1982. They were the result of the resourcefulness of two sisters and one of their friends, who met regularly to plan and cook their recipes while sharing the costs. This ingenious initiative spread further and the Regroupement des cuisines collectives du Québec (RCCQ, Quebec Collective Kitchens Association) was established in 1990. The RCCQ membership includes 7 groups in Laval, 12 in Longueuil and 176 in Montreal. Within these groups, some 975 people cook once a month, on average, to feed about 4,875 mouths. While a collective kitchen is, above all, a small group of people who pool their time, money and skills to prepare healthy, low-cost and appetizing meals, it is also a place where popular education, solidarity, pride and dignity are significant ingredients: the groups prepare delicious meals, cook up a takecharge atmosphere and harvest the fruits of a better quality of life. 8


    • Blacks made up 2% of the Canadian population in 1996, and 21.3% of them lived in Greater Montreal, the second-largest community after Toronto’s (47.9%). They represented 3.7% of the Montreal region (against 6.4% in Toronto) and were divided among those of Caribbean origin (81.5%) and those from the African continent (18.5%). 9
    • Also in 1996, nearly half of Black Montrealers were less than 25 years old (in the general population, that proportion was 30%). Women accounted for 53.6% of the Black community (versus 51.4% in the general population), and the proportion of heads of single-parent families in the Black population was more than twice as high as in the general population (10.4% vs. 4.5%). There were proportionately more Blacks who had not finished high school (34.5% vs. 31.8%), their unemployment rate was twice as high (26.5% vs. 10.7%) and their average incomes were lower by one third. Thus 57% of Blacks lived in poverty (26.2% in the general population); this included two out of three children (against three out of ten), and three out of four heads on single-parent families (45% in the overall population). 9
    • Unemployment among Black university graduates was three times as high as among non-Black graduates in 1996. In fact, their unemployment level was equal to that of non-Blacks who had not completed high school. 9
    • In 1996, the average income of Black men was 20% higher than that of Black women, but 10% lower than the income of all Montreal women and 45% lower than that of all Montreal men. 9
    • In 2000, the proportion of Aboriginals in low-income brackets in Greater Montreal was 35.5%, compared with 21.4% among non-Aboriginals, a difference of 14.1 percentage points. The gap in Toronto was 11.8 points, while in Vancouver, where the proportion of low-income Aboriginals was 40.9%, the low-income gap relative to non-Aboriginals was 21.5 points. 11
    • First Nations make up less than half of 1% of the population of Greater Montreal. Despite this low figure, many long-term homeless people are believed to be Aboriginals. Inuit make up a significant proportion of this group, even though they represent less than 5% of Aboriginals in Montreal. Among homeless Aboriginals, women are almost as numerous as men; among non-Aboriginals, the ratio is estimated to be five men for every woman. 12,13
    • Number of Beds for the Homeless, By age/gender, Island of Montreal, 2006
      source : CRI-UQÀM 13

    1 Family characteristics, Low Income Measures (LIM), by family type and family type composition, table Cansim 111-0015, Statistics Canada
    (consulted on August 21, 2007)
    2 Banque de données des statistiques officielles sur le Québec, Institut de la statistique; special request for the CMA obtained by Marcel Côté of SECOR Consulting
    (consulted on July 31, 2007)
    3 Nombre de personnes dans les familles à faible revenu, selon le type de famille, 2000-2004, Institut de la statistique du Québec
    (consulted on July 31, 2007)
    4 Banque de données des statistiques officielles sur le Québec, Institut de la statistique
    Bulletin statistique régional. Montréal, Vol. 4, No. 1, Institut de la statistique du Québec, May 2007
    (consulted on July 31, 2007)
    5 Portrait de santé du Québec et de ses régions 2006: les statistiques, Deuxième rapport national sur l’état de santé de la population du Québec, Gouvernement du Québec, 2006
    (consulted on July 31, 2007)
    6 Étude sur le coût du panier à provisions nutritif dans divers quartiers de Montréal, Dispensaire diététique de Montréal, 2007
    “6,11 $ par personne par jour pour bien se nourrir à Montréal,” Cyberpresse, April 4, 2007
    Émilie Côté, “Payer son loyer ou bien se nourrir?,” Cyberpresse, April 5, 2007
    (consulted on July 31, 2007)
    8 Data from the Regroupement des cuisines collectives du Québec, provided by Guyane Marcoux
    (consulted on July 31, 2007)
    9 James L. Torczyner and Sharon Springer, The Evolution of the Black Community of Montreal: Change and Challenge, Executive Summary, McGill Consortium for Ethnicity and Strategic Social Planning, Montreal Black Communities Demographic Project, October 2001
    Myrlande Pierre, Bref portrait sociodémographique des communautés noires du Québec, Conseil des relations interculturelles, mai 2002
    (consulted on April 30, 2007)
    11 Andrew J. Siggner and Rosalinda Costa, Aboriginal Conditions in Census Metropolitan Areas, 1981-2001, Trends and Conditions in Census Metropolitan Areas, Statistics Canada, June 2005
    Andrew Heisz, Canada’s Global Cities: Socio-economic Conditions in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, Trends and Conditions in Census Metropolitan Areas, Statistics Canada, July 2006
    (consulted on July 31, 2007)
    12 Statistiques des populations autochtones du Québec 2005, Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones du Québec
    Mylène Jaccoud and R. Brassard, “La marginalisation des femmes autochtones à Montréal,” in David Newhouse and et Evelyn Peters (eds.), Des gens d'ici: les Autochtones en milieu urbain, Canada, Projet de recherche sur les politiques, 2003, pp. 143-159
    Patrick Bellerose, “Autochtones sans-abri à Montréal: perdus dans la ville,” Montréal Campus, No. 11, February 2005
    Brian Myles, “Le Tiers-Monde au bout de la rue. Les vies oubliées des sans-abri autochtones,” Le Devoir, February 26 and 27, 2005
    Mélanie St-Pierre, “Les Inuits du Carré Cabot, une minorité oubliée,” Les Échos du Vieux-Montréal, January 2004
    Aboriginal Identity Population, 2001 Counts, for Census Metropolitan Areas, Statistics Canada
    Homelessness among Montreal’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis. A Summary Report of Findings, Native Friendship Centre of Montreal, June 2002
    (consulted on July 31, 2007)
    13 Shirley Roy et al., Itinérance et accès aux services: problèmes et enjeux, Collectif de recherche sur l’itinérance, la pauvreté et l’exclusion sociale CRI-UQAM, May 2006
    (consulted on July 31, 2007)