The median total income of Canadian households rose from $63,457 in 2005 to $70,336 in 2015, a 10.8% increase.
Today, Statistics Canada is releasing data from the 2016 Census on the incomes of Canadians. This release presents incomes of Canadians as measured in 2015, and looks at trends over the 2005-to-2015 period, a decade of significant income growth and economic change.
BC measured in just above the national average
The median household income in British Columbia was $69,995 in 2015, seventh among the provinces and territories, down from sixth in 2005. Median incomes increased 12.2% from 2005, 1.4 percentage points above the Canadian average, making British Columbia the eighth-fastest growing region over the decade. Fewer manufacturing and agricultural jobs coincided with employment increases in utilities, health care and social assistance, and forestry and construction sectors.
Every metropolitan area in British Columbia experienced some growth in their median income. Median income growth ranged from 2% or less in Powell River, Port Alberni and Quesnel to over 20% in Cranbrook (+21.8%), Prince Rupert (+23.2%), Terrace (+24.6%), Fort St. John (+27.5%) and Dawson Creek (+31.6%). Vancouver, with a median income of $72,662 in 2015, experienced an income growth rate of 11.2% since 2005, somewhat below the provincial rate.
Highlights from the 2016 Census
- Median total income of households in 2015 — Canada: $70,336
- Proportion of population in low income in 2015 — Canada: 14.2%
- Proportion of persons younger than 18 in low income in 2015 — Canada: 17.0%
- Proportion of couples with fairly equal total income in 2015 — Canada: 32.0%
- Proportion of households contributing to TFSA, RRP or RRSP in 2015 — Canada: 65.2%
An important factor in the economic story of Canada over the decade was high resource prices that drew investment and people to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, boosted the construction sector, and more generally filtered through the economy as a whole.
This boom in the resource sector coincided with a decline in the manufacturing sector, with fewer jobs in this sector in 2015 than 2005. The bulk of these manufacturing job losses were in Ontario and Quebec.
This census release paints a picture of the income of Canadians in 2015 before the effects of the oil price slowdown in 2015 and 2016 were fully felt.
Led by growth in resource-rich provinces, median income rose 10.8% in Canada from 2005 to 2015, compared with 9.2% growth in the previous decade and a decline of 1.8% the decade before that.
This growth was not distributed evenly across Canada. Resource-based provinces and regions had the highest income growth, led by Nunavut, and Saskatchewan. Median income growth was slowest in Ontario and Quebec, the two provinces with the largest populations and significant manufacturing activity.
The low income rate was relatively stable over the last decade, rising marginally from 14.0% in 2005 to 14.2% in 2015. There were regional variations over the decade. The number of persons in low income declined in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, while the number increased in Ontario. There were also variations across age groups with a smaller proportion of young children living in households with low income and a larger proportion of seniors.
Almost two-thirds of Canadian households contributed to an RRSP, RPP or TFSA in 2015. Of these households, more than half contributed to only one plan, while one-third contributed to two plans and 14% contributed to all three.
In 2015, 96% of Canadian couples had both spouses reporting income, up significantly from about two-thirds in the mid-1970s.
One-third of couples had fairly equal incomes in 2015 compared with about one-fifth of couples 30 years earlier.
To read the entire Statistic Canada The Daily on this, click here.
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