2021 Living Wage Report – Single Adults in Edmonton

December 10, 2021

A living wage is rooted in the belief that individuals and families should not just survive, but live with dignity and opportunities to participate in their community. A living wage is defined as the hourly wage that a primary income earner must make to provide for themselves, their families, and reach basic financial security. The living wage allows for a higher standard of living than typical poverty measures, and accounts for the income an individual or family would need to participate in the community. More information can be found in the Edmonton Living Wage 2021 Update report.

The living wage is typically based off of a reference family that includes two parents working full-time, one child in elementary school, and one child not yet in school. The Edmonton Social Planning Council (ESPC) calculated the living wage for this family as $18.10 in 2021.

However, there are many other family arrangements, all of which have different needs and different government benefits available to them. These families may require a different wage in order to live in dignity. Single adults are one such family type. It is often assumed that single adults have lower living costs than families and, therefore, do not need as much support as families with children. This thinking has contributed to a lack of social policy reforms directed toward single adults. Today, single adults are three times more likely to live in poverty than the average Canadian, which limits their ability to achieve personal well-being. As such, ESPC decided to calculate a living wage for a single adult.

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