Increase in BC incomes falls short of inflation rate: census

Gladys Abbott
September 13, 2017

Children account for almost one quarter of all low-income Canadians, and while their share of the population has decreased since the mid-1990s, their share of the low-income population has decreased faster, according to Statistics Canada - something it attributes to family-related benefit programs among other factors.

The latest figures from the 2016 census show income growth in Ontario was the worst in the country between 2005 and 2015.

Despite the second-lowest median income level in Canada, Quebec (14.3 per cent) was second only to Alberta (12.8 per cent) in having the lowest percentage of children in low-income households, thanks to lower child care costs and richer child benefits than elsewhere. This represents incomes as represented in 2015.

Hamilton's steady income growth is likely a function of an unemployment rate that has been one of the lowest in Ontario for several years, according to Sara Mayo, a social planner with the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton.

Canada's most populous province watched its median income barely move over the last decade, its 3.8 per cent rise ranking a dismal last.

Slightly more than 15 per cent of British Columbians remain under the low-income cutoff - a number that has barely changed in the past decade.

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Despite Quebec's lacklustre growth overall in average household income, some individual cities in the province - particularly those involved in the mining industry - bucked that trend.

More detailed income data about immigrants and Indigenous Peoples, both on and off-reserve, is scheduled for release next month.

Between 2005 to 2015 Canadian median income rose from $63,457 in 2005 to $70,336, an increase of 10.8%. "I feel like I'm well on track to be more financially secure. but I would say that it's still very hard to step back into the private market when you don't have that security".

Same-sex couples have higher incomes, in part because a greater proportion are in their prime working years.

Only 7.5 per cent of female couples reported making that much and only 8.4 per cent of opposite-sex couples were in that group.

"One of the stories of the resource boom is that there are definitely increases in median income, but most of the gains are going to go to the top (earners)", said David Macdonald, a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

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