Families, Youth Struggling – ACF Report

Release. Abbotsford Community Foundation (ACF)’s Vital Signs Report revealed statistics that indicate low income families and youth continue to struggle economically.

There is a significant disparity between the annual living wage for a family of four with two parents working in the Fraser Valley of $59,569 and the amount two parents working full time earning the minimum wage would make, which is $37,310, according to the report produced by the Abbotsford Community Foundation (ACF).

Income for single parent families in Abbotsford – Mission is lagging behind provincial and national levels.

In 2010 in the Abbotsford- Mission Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), the median after – tax income of single parent families (based on tax data) in current dollars was $31,670, up by a slight 1.6 per cent from $31,170 in 2009. The 2010 level was below the national level ($35,690) and below the provincial level ($34,000).

There are 7,160 (15% of census families) lone parent families in Abbotsford- Mission. Approximately 3,000 people a month receive food from the Abbotsford Food Bank and of those 40 per cent are children. This is significantly higher than the provincial average of 29.5 per cent.

“Our youth unemployment rate continues to be too high,” said McAlevy.

“In 2012, the youth (15 – 24 years old) unemployment rate in Abbotsford – Mission (CMA) was 14.5 per cent. Up 1 per cent from the year before and slightly higher than the national and provincial youth unemployment rates.”

There was a significant gap between the number of licensed day care spaces for children under 5, which is 1,166 compared to the number of children in Abbotsford under 5, which is 8,530. “While much of this can be attributed to these children being cared for parents and family members, we suspect for low income families that the average fees of $600 to $900 per month would be a barrier to having young children in licensed daycare facilities. We have no way of knowing how many unlicensed day care spaces there are in Abbotsford,” said McAlevy.

Vital Signs is an annual community checkup conducted this year by 26 community foundations across Canada supported by Community Foundations of Canada. The report presents a “snapshot” of the community by selecting statistical measures or indicators for a number of issue areas that show what is happening in these areas in our community.

When it comes to generosity, Abbotsford continues to outshine every community in Canada.
In 2011, the median amount of charitable donations in Abbotsford- Mission (CMA) was $630. This amount is higher than the national level ($260) and the provincial level ($370). The percent of tax filers making charitable donations in Abbotsford has fallen, but only slightly. It decreased 0.4 percentage points to 21.7 from 22.0 per cent in 2010. However, this is lower than the national level (23.0 per cent).

“Our volunteer rate is very strong in Abbotsford,” said McAlevy. In 2010, the volunteer rate for Abbotsford – Mission (CMA) was 52.0 per cent. This figure is higher than the national level (47.0 per cent) and higher than the provincial level (46.6). The volunteer rate increased 15.1 percentage points from 45.2 per cent in 2007, according to Vital Signs.

Another bright spot in the report was Abbotsford’s high school completion rate which was 88.6 per cent in 2011 which was higher than the rates in both Mission and Chilliwack. Aboriginal high school completion rates for persons aged 25 to 64 were 82.7 per cent in 2011, higher than the provincial and national averages.

In addition to statistics, Abbotsford’s Vital Signs includes the results from an online survey of local residents who shared their perceptions on these issues resulting in “grades” that ranged from B to C -. For the most part, the perceptions matched the facts, said McAlevy.

Survey respondents also weighed in on what they liked the best about their community (the natural environment and sense of community) and what issues they thought were the most pressing (cost of living and employment opportunities). For the full report (both short and long versions) and a list of national and local sources visit www.abbotsfordcf.org

Image from greengoddess-vidaverde.com

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