Of all the Determinants of Health, income is considered to have the greatest impact on health inequalities
. It has been stated that, “Income is perhaps the most important social determinant of health. Level of income shapes overall living conditions, affects psychological functioning, and influences health-related behaviours such as quality of diet, extent of physical activity, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol use.” (Mikkonen and Raphael, 2010).1
Because low income is so broad in focus, we take into account a number of different measures to provide a complete picture of income demographics in Simcoe Muskoka.
Statistics Canada uses three complementary low income lines: the Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOs), the Low Income Measures (LIMs) and the Market Basket Measure (MBM). Though these measures differ from one another, they give a generally consistent picture of low income status over time. None of these measures is best for depicting low income when taken on its own. Each measure has its own strengths and weaknesses; however, when looked at together, the three measures provide a better understanding of the phenomenon of low income. These measures are not indicators of poverty, but strictly of low income.
Other methods used to help explain income and health disparities at the local level include QAIPPE, or the “Quintile of Annual Income Per Person Equivalent” and the Ontario Marginalization Index or ON-MARG.
To help us understand the degree of income inequality in a population we use the Lorenz Curve and the Gini Coefficient of Income Disparity.
In this section of our website, we have included all of the aforementioned measures to give a comprehensive picture of low income in Simcoe Muskoka.
- Between the years 2006-2012, the incidence of persons with low income has remained consistent in Simcoe Muskoka at 12%, according to Taxfiler data.
- Among lone-parent families, the median after-tax income was $37,270 in Simcoe County and $35,730 in Muskoka District in 2012..
- Looking at it another way, 32% of lone-parent families in Simcoe Muskoka were living in low income (after tax) in 2012.
- From the Lorenz Curve and Gini Coefficient, income was more equally distributed in Simcoe Muskoka than in Ontario overall.
 Mikkonen, J. & Raphael, D. (2010). Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts. Toronto: York University School of Health Policy and Management.