By Bradley Bennett 
BELLEVILLE – The latest round of census results shows that Belleville residents’ income falls below the Canadian average.
The median total income in Canada is $30,866 after taxes, while the median income in Belleville is $28,217, the census found.
The results from the census show a large gender wage gap, with the male median income being $31,836 while the female median income was $25, 691.
A total of 8,705 people in Belleville fall into the low-income category. That’s measured by taking 50 per cent of the median household in an area and then adjusting it by the number of people in the household. By this measure, there are 2,305 children up to age 17 in the low-income category, another 5,300 adults aged 18 to 64, and 1,100 over the age of 65.
One of the reasons for Belleville has a higher low-income median than the national median could be that there are lots of minimum wage jobs in Belleville, said Christine Durant, of the Hastings and Prince Edward Poverty Roundtable, a group dedicated to combatting poverty in the region.
It advocates for a living wage of $16.50 per hour to raise people out of poverty. This number is what a typical family of four would need to make with both parents working full-time, she said.
According to the census data, approximately 9,040 households in Belleville could benefit directly from a move to the recommended living wage.
“The minimum wage raise should definitely increase incomes and get people out of the low-income measure,” she said.
“Even though the 2015 census data just came out with really alarming statistics about how many families and children are living in poverty, we are very hopeful that the child tax benefit helps decrease in childhood poverty,” said Durant.