Low Income Cut-Off After Taxes (LICO-AT)
Why This Matters
The Low-Income Cut-off After-Tax (LICO-AT) is the most commonly used measure of low income in Canada (HRSDC, 2009). However, Statistics Canada has emphasized that LICO-AT is not a measure of poverty (Statistics Canada, 2008). Rather, LICO-AT is a measure that identifies levels of income below which Canadians are likely to spend a substantially larger proportion of their income on basic needs (i.e., food, clothing, shelter) than the average family, thereby reducing their expenditures on education, recreation, entertainment, and transportation, among other goods and services.
Measurement and Limitations
The LICO-AT is based on Canadian expenditure patterns. Cut-offs are set at income levels where a family would spend 20 percentage points more of their after-tax income than the average family on food, shelter, and clothing (HRSDC, 2009). This means that they are currently spending at least 63 per cent of their after-tax income on basic needs, rather than the average rate of 43 per cent.
The cut-offs consider family size and area of residence. The cut-offs are calculated for seven different family sizes (one through six and seven or more) and five different community sizes (rural, small urban region, 30,000 to 99,999 residents, 100,000 to 499,999 residents, and 500,000 or more residents). As either one of these variables increases, the cut-off increases. For instance, a family of six living in Winnipeg has a cut-off of about $49,000, whereas an individual living in a rural area would have a cut-off of about $14,000 (Statistics Canada, 2005).
The cut-offs remain constant in 1992 real dollars through being annually indexed to the national Consumer Price Index, such that an individual’s 2008 income must be converted to 1992 real dollars to allow for accurate comparison to the appropriate cut-off (HRSDC, 2009).
LICO-AT data prior to 2006 is reported for the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area, an area that extends beyond the borders of the city.
Data for LICO-AT is not available at a sub-Winnipeg level for years after 2006. 2006-2010 data was obtained through the Data Consortium (http://www.ccsd.ca/subsites/socialdata/home.html). Data for prior years was obtained from Statistics Canada (www.statcan.gc.ca).
Data for Winnipeg CMA and Canda was obtained from Statistics Canada CANSIM table 206-0041.
The most recent data for this indicator was made available in 2016. This data is updated annually as it becomes available.
Human Resources and Skill Development Canada (HRSDC). (2009). Low income in Canada: 2000-2007: Using the market basket measure. Gatineau, Quebec: HRSDC. Retrieved from http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/publications_resources/research/categories/inclusion/2009/sp-909-07-09/sp_909_07_09e.pdf
Statistics Canada. (2005). Low income after-tax cut-offs (1992 base) for economic families and persons not in economic families, 2005. Retrieved from http://www12.statcan.ca/census-recensement/2006/ref/dict/tables/table-tableau-17-eng.cfm
Statistics Canada. (2008). Low income after-tax cut-offs (LICO-AT). Retrieved from http://www12.statcan.ca/census-recensement/2006/ref/dict/fam019-eng.cfm
Low Income Cut-Off After Taxes (LICO-AT)
Low Income Cut-Off After Taxes (LICO-AT) Sustainable Development Goals
1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990. While this is a remarkable achievement, one in five people in developing regions still live on less than $1.90 a day, and there are millions more who make little more than this daily amount, plus many people risk slipping back into poverty.
Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.