Despite income growth, many in Nanaimo are still struggling

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NANAIMO — Despite some strong numbers indicating significant growth, latest income statistics for Nanaimo show poverty is still a major concern.

“Some families are doing very well, but for lots of people they aren’t on social assistance, they’re struggling with part-time or precarious employment and they’re not doing very well,” Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog told NanaimoNewsNOW.

Stats Canada showed the average Nanaimo family income jumped nearly 20 per cent from the last census in 2011 to sit at $62,800. Though it’s a sizable jump, it still lags behind the average family income in B.C. and Canada by several thousand dollars.

Though the income is rising, more than half of Nanaimo residents make less than $40,000 and 16.5 per cent of people qualify for low-income status. The B.C. average is 15.5 per cent.

Combined with the drastically increasing cost of housing in Nanaimo and across the province, Krog said the initially optimistic numbers don’t paint the full picture of living in the city.

“There’s no question we’re attracting some high-tech, good jobs, there’s no question people with substantial retirement incomes are coming here. Those folks help the statistic. But there’s a lot of folks who are very up against it.”