How serious is the problem of poverty in Saint John?

From PlanSJ documentation: The 2008 Poverty and Plenty II report, completed by Vibrant Communities Saint John, indicates that the City suffers from higher incidences of low income than provincial and national averages. As of 2006, more than one in five Saint John residents lived in poverty. Crescent Valley, the Lower West Side, the Old North End, the South End, and Waterloo Village have all been deemed “priority neighbourhoods” due to their high rates of low income households and are home to 40% of those residents living in poverty. Another 60% of residents in poverty live in other neighbourhoods throughout the City.

Saint John’s 29,000 households account for almost 60% of all households in the Saint John Region, yet they earn 85 cents to every dollar earned by households throughout the entire CMA. The City’s median household income stood at $41,459 in 2006.

Household sizes are also falling. The City of Saint John displayed the lowest average household size in the CMA at 2.3 (the CMA average is 2.4), most likely a result of the aging population and higher proportion of young adults who tend to form smaller households.

Challenges and Opportunities:

As Saint John’s population continues to age, environmental concerns persist, and the supply of traditional energy sources declines, there is potential to make the City an attractive location for compact, sustainable living.

Most projections — local, regional, provincial and national — indicate that the City of Saint John should prepare for no growth and possible continued decline into the future. The New Brunswick Department of Education, as an example, is anticipating a 29% drop in enrollment in School District 8 by 2025.

Based on an analysis of existing projections and actual rates of population change since amalgamation, a range of population scenarios have been created for 2035. The scenarios put forward in the Technical Background Report see the City going from continued decline to modest rates of growth, anywhere from 45,000 to 70,000 residents. It is, however, important to note that residential population is only one indicator of growth for a city.

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