LONG READ: Why data-based measures of poverty are not capturing the vulnerability of older adults

The Market Basket Measure (MBM) is Canada’s official measure of poverty, but it does not consider that seniors often live on fixed incomes and have increased health and social care costs.

Why It Matters

Depending on the data points included in specific poverty measures, the outcomes and analysis can be drastically different, which has a tangible impact on policy development. Relying solely on data-based methodologies also risks ignoring the effect of non-quantifiable factors, such as demographics.

Different data-based measures of poverty in Canada are capturing vastly different pictures of financial insecurity among older adults, according to a new report by Maytree. The think tank, which focuses on “advancing systemic solutions to poverty through a human rights-based approach,” found that the Market Basket Measure (MBM) and the Low Income Measure (LIM) are measuring income adequacy using different data points, which “present very different stories.”

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