VitalSigns of Greater Montreal 2008 Foundation of Greater Montreal's website
Comment Vital Signs
  • In 2006, 22.1% of children in Greater Montreal lived in low-income families.* While there has been some improvement relative to the 25% recorded in 2000, and while the rate is slightly lower than the Canadian average (23.1%), it remains higher than the provincial average (19.9%).

    * The low-income measurement is based on 50% of the after-tax median family income in Quebec. Note that median income is adjusted for family size.1
  • In 2005, the highest proportion of low-income families in Quebec, with or without children, was found on the island of Montreal (16.7%). Single-parent families were the hardest hit: 35.6% of these families are below the low-income threshold*, while this is the situation for 12.2% of couple families.** 2

    ** Refers to a family that contains a married or common-law couple

  • In January 2008, some 9% of Montreal island residents were dependent on last-resort financial assistance programs. Within this group, 28.6% were children. 3
  • The problems associated with social inequalities are not restricted to food prices. As many as 40% of Montrealers do not have access to a source of supply of fresh fruits and vegetables within a half-kilometre of their home.4 5
  • In low-income neighbourhoods, convenience stores are more numerous than any other type of retail business. That is why, in 2007, the average cost of a nutritional grocery basket per person/per day varied by as much as $2 between rich and poor districts on the island.5
  • In 2006-2007, 27,000 children had to rely on food supplies provided by Moisson Montréal, accounting for 45% of all recipients. In addition, 11,000 children were provided with meals offered by the organization – almost one-fourth of its clientele.6
  • In 2005 and 2006, Moisson Montréal recorded an increase in the number of children requiring its services, especially among those less than two years old (18.6%). Overall, nearly one child in five in this group received assistance from Moisson Montréal in 2006.7

Montreal’s Direction de santé publique has conducted a survey on school readiness among 10,000 kindergarten children in Montreal. Five developmental areas were assessed. One-third of the children were found to be vulnerable in at least one of those areas, leading one to conclude that on the island of Montreal, 5,087 children will need special support upon entering school. While 12% of the children displayed weakness in the area of social skills, 17% were vulnerable in the area of cognitive and language skills, and 15% in the area of emotional maturity.
Although average scores on the island of Montreal were lower than the Canadian average, the scores compared relatively favourably with those of other large cities such as Vancouver and Toronto. The survey will provide some guidance as to which areas require action. 8

1 Statistics Canada. Small Area Administrative Data. Family characteristics, Low Income Measures (LIM), by family type and family type composition, annual, Cansim Table 111-0015. Data obtained from Statistics Canada by special request.
2 Institut de la statistique du Québec, Bulletin statistique régional. 2008.
3 Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale, “Rapport statistique sur la clientèle des programmes d’assistance sociale, janvier 2008.” Direction de la statistique et du soutien aux expérimentations, 2008.
4 Direction de santé publique Montréal. Les disparités dans l’accès à des aliments santé à Montréal. Une étude géomatique. Montreal: Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal, 2006.
5 Direction de santé publique Montréal, “Mémoire de la Direction de santé publique de l’Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal présenté à la Commission sur l’avenir de l’agriculture et de l’agroalimentaire québécois.” Montreal, 2007.
6 Moisson Montréal, Annual Report 2006-2007. Montreal, 2007.
7 Moisson Montréal, “Penser autrement l’aide alimentaire. Bilan-Faim 2006.” Montreal, 2006.
8 Direction de santé publique Montréal, Enquête sur la maturité scolaire des enfants montréalais. Rapport régional 2008. Montreal: Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal, 2008.