Canadians earned more in 2015 than they did in the previous 10 years, and fewer young children were living in low-income households, according to 2016 census data released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday.
The numbers also indicate most Canadian households are saving for their retirement, more couples are contributing equally to their earnings, and the rate of inequality has been largely flat over the last decade.
The median household income in Canada rose 10.8 per cent between 2005 and 2015, to $70,336 from $63,457, measured in 2015 dollars — representing a slightly higher rate of increase than between 1995 and 2005, when median incomes were up 9.2 per cent.
Nunavut and Saskatchewan experienced the fastest rates of growth,36.7 and 36.5 per cent, respectively. Median income was the highest in the Northwest Territories, at $117,688, while Alberta had the highest median household income at $93,835.
Income grew most slowly in Quebec and Ontario, at 8.9 and 3.8 per cent, respectively, while New Brunswick had the lowest median household income at $59,347.
But the 2015 figures — which matched census responses with tax filings with the Canada Revenue Agency for the first time — reveal the financial situation of Canadians before the steep drop in oil prices took its toll on the economy.
Accordingly, the Prairies, and Newfoundland and Labrador experienced the greatest rate of income growth in the country in 2015.
But the recent downturn, while having a “moderating influence on growth, should not reverse the long-term trends that have been recorded over the last 10 years,” says Brian Murphy, special adviser in the income statistics division at Statistics Canada.
The growth in the Prairies as well as Newfoundland and Labrador was spurred by the resource sector, as well as related growth in the construction industry.
That contrasted with the hollowing out of manufacturing in Ontario and Quebec, which was behind the lower income growth levels in those two provinces. In Ontario, Windsor, for instance, suffered a 6.4 per cent decline in household incomes, while Oshawa, home to the province’s auto industry, saw incomes grow by just 0.1 per cent.
Percentage of low-income households steady
The share of Canadians living in low-income households — defined as a household taking in less than half of the after-tax median income — increased slightly, to 14.2 per cent from 14 per cent in 2005.
But there was a decline in the number…