Anna (_ocelott_) wrote,

Save your pitying looks and condescension, please.

Recently the results of a study on the attitudes and misconceptions towards poverty in Canada were released. The Vancouver Sun carries a loaded article on it, full of quotes from the Salvation Army. Oooh, how legitimate sounding!

Some of the data is pretty shocking. 23% of respondants believe poor people are poor because they're lazy, and 49% believe that if poor people want to work, they can always find a job. Because, y'know, it's not like there's been a recession going on or anything like that.

The numbers they tossed around baffle me, though. It seems 54% of Canadians believe a family of four can survive on $30,000 a year or less, which according to the article is an insane myth because "the Salvation Army says it's 'extremely difficult' for a family to live on less than $40,000 in an urban area."

Ok, I know it's taboo to discuss finances and stuff, but I have points to make, and I can't do that without a bit of money talk, so it's under the cut for those who'd rather skip such things.

Firstly, I'm surprised to see how much the questions in the survey were lacking in specifics. When they asked whether a family of four could survive on $30k per year, they didn't pick a city or a province, just said "in Canada" and then were surprised when people said it was possible. The cost of living fluctuates wildly across the country, as it does in the US, and I would be very interested to see the regional data for this one. I suspect the respondants from, say, Manitoba would be more likely to think 30k for a family is doable (where it is) as opposed to a respondant from Ontario or BC (where it might not be).

I also wonder about the quality of life they're trying to hold people to for the Salvation Army to make such a sweeping statement that it's "extremely difficult" for a family to survive on less than 40k. What exactly are they considering necessities? Do you need to own a house, or a car? More than one car?

My three kids have a roof over their head, food to eat, clothes to wear, toys to play with, books to read, warm and comfortable beds to sleep in. They go to school, get medicine when they're sick, go to the dentist, etc. They're happy and healthy. While we don't pay for childcare, we also don't get any insurance or medical benefits, and we don't rely on anything except our income to pay our bills (which we do, every month). Our net income is less than 30k.

While some of the attitudes towards poverty expressed in the study are appalling and ignorant, so is the assertion that anyone raising a family on a low budget is living without self-respect or self-worth by missing out on "everyday things" (which have conveniently been left unnamed). I'm not sure what it is my kids are evidently deprived of, but I resent the insinuations throughout this entire article.
Tags: grrrr

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