Statistics Canada - Statistique Canada
Skip main navigation menuSkip secondary navigation menuHomeFrançaisContact UsHelpSearch the websiteCanada Site
The DailyCanadian StatisticsCommunity ProfilesProducts and servicesHome
CensusCanadian StatisticsCommunity ProfilesProducts and servicesOther links

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.

Media Room Search The Daily View or print The Daily in PDF format. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader The Daily archives Latest release from the Labour Force Survey Latest release from the Consumer Price Index Recently released products Latest economic indicators Release dates Get a FREE subscription to The Daily Information about The Daily The Daily
Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Household spending


Households in Canada spent an average of $57,730 in 2001 on everything from food, shelter and clothing to recreation and travel, according to new estimates from the 2001 Survey of Household Spending.

This was up 3.4% from $55,830 in 2000, slightly higher than the rate of inflation of 2.6% as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

The proportion of the household budget allocated to the four largest spending categories remained largely unchanged. Personal taxes claimed an estimated 21% of the average household budget. Shelter claimed about 19%; transportation, 13%; and food, 11%.

Households spent an estimated average of $10,980 on shelter in 2001, up from about $10,500 in 2000. They also spent $6,430 on food, up from $6,220.

The increase in spending on food was due mainly to higher spending on restaurant meals, which rose about 10% to $1,430. Spending in restaurants, which include drive-ins, canteens, cafeterias and take-outs, accounted for almost one-quarter of all spending on food. On average, each household spent about $4,970 on food purchased from stores, up slightly from 2000.

In addition, spending on gasoline and other fuels for vehicles declined 5.9% to an average of $1,840 for households reporting such expenditures. This drop was more than double the rate of decline in gas prices, which fell 2.6% in 2001, according to the Consumer Price Index.

Substantial increase in spending on utilities

The 5% increase in spending on shelter was driven mainly by an increase in spending on owned accommodation, especially for utilities, repairs and property taxes.

Average spending for reporting households on the three main utilities - water, fuel and electricity - went from an estimated $1,920 in 2000 to $2,040 in 2001, an increase of 6%.

Average spending on water and sewage charges was $490 for households that reported such expenditures. Spending on fuels such as oil and natural gas rose an average of 7% to $1,070. This increase was fuelled by a large rise in the price of natural gas in 2001.

Note to readers

Data for this release came from the 2001 Survey of Household Spending and were collected from January to March 2002 from a sample of about 25,000 private households in all provinces and territories. The survey gathered detailed information on spending, dwelling characteristics and household equipment.

For 1999 and 2001, data were collected in the territories, but not for 2000. Therefore, for comparability, totals for Canada in this release do not include the territories.

As in previous years, comparisons of expenditures in this release are not adjusted for inflation. All figures in this release have been rounded.

To analyse the data by income level, households were divided into five groups or quintiles based on their income. Each quintile represents one-fifth of all households. Quintiles are created by ranking households in ascending order of total household income and partitioning the households into five groups such that the estimated number of households in each group is the same.

Since households in the lowest income quintile are smaller on average than households in the largest income quintile, some data are adjusted for household size to allow for more realistic comparisons. This adjustment reflects the principle that household size and composition (number of adults and children) affect household needs.

The 40% of homeowners that reported expenditures on maintenance, repairs and equipment replacement spent an average of $1,490 in 2001, compared with $1,190 in 2000. Payments on property taxes for households reporting them were up 3% to $1,940.

Spending on communication services continues to rise

In 2001, 60% of households reported owning a computer, compared with 55% in 2000 and 50% in 1999. About one-half of all households reported using the Internet from home in 2001, up from 42% in 2000 and 33% in 1999. Households with expenditures on Internet service spent an average of $320 in 2001, up from $280 in 2000.

New data from the Survey of Household Spending showed that, in 2001, about 57% of households that reported using the Internet from home had a regular telephone connection to a computer as their major mode of Internet access. About 17% had a high speed telephone connection and an estimated 24% were connected to the Internet by cable.

Households with a regular telephone connection as of December 31, spent an average of $240 in 2001 on Internet services. This compares with $410 for those with a high speed telephone connection and $440 for those connected by cable.

About 48% of households reported having a cellular telephone in 2001, up from 42% in 2000. Average spending on cellular services for households reporting remained stable at $480.

Spending on televisions, VCRs, camcorders and other television/video components such as home theatres increased from an average of $680 in 2000 to $720 in 2001 for those households reporting.

Financial security takes bigger bite of household budget

In 2001, almost three-quarters of all households made payments to retirement and pension funds such as the Canada Pension Plan and the Quebec Pension Plan, and other government and non-government funds.

For these households, spending rose from 2000's average of $2,330 to $2,590 in 2001. Payments to Registered Retirement Savings Plans did not change significantly.

Payments on homeowner insurance premiums increased slightly to $490 from $470 for reporting households. Average payments on health insurance premiums rose from $790 in 2000 to $880 in 2001. Spending on health insurance premiums includes payments for publicly sponsored health or drug insurance plans where applicable, and private health insurance plans, including dental coverage and accident and disability insurance.

In contrast, for households reporting such spending, Employment Insurance premiums declined from $1,050 in 2000 to an average of $990 in 2001.

Spending on tourism holds steady

Household spending on tourism held steady in 2001. Just over one-third (35%) of households reported spending an average of $860 on hotels and motels.

Similarly, around 20% of households reported spending on air travel, on average $1,550. About 11% of households reported spending on package tours, with an average of $2,990.

These figures are virtually identical to those reported in 2000. It is not possible to isolate the impact of the events of September 11 on travel spending in 2001, as data are collected for the entire calendar year.

Food and shelter costs account for one-half of spending in lowest-income households

For the purposes of this analysis, households were divided into five groups according to their income, with each group representing 20% of all households.

The one-fifth of households with the lowest incomes spent almost 50% of their budget on food and shelter in 2001, and only 3% on personal income taxes.

In contrast, the one-fifth of households with the highest incomes allocated 24% of their budgets to food and shelter, and 30% to personal income taxes. These proportions for both groups were virtually unchanged from 2000.

Percentage of household budget spent on four major categories, by income quintile


  Lowest quintile Second quintile Third quintile Fourth quintile Highest quintile
Food 18 15 13 11 9
Shelter 31 23 21 19 15
Transportation 11 14 14 14 13
Personal taxes 3 10 16 20 30

The one-fifth of households with the lowest incomes had average annual spending of $18,070 in 2001, compared with $117,230 for the one-fifth of households with the highest incomes.

After adjusting for differences in household size, average spending per person was $14,890 for the one-fifth of households with the lowest incomes, only one-quarter the level of $60,720 for households with the highest incomes.

Average expenditure per person on four major categories, by income quintile


  Lowest quintile Second quintile Third quintile Fourth quintile Highest quintile
Food 2,690 3,420 3,900 4,280 5,160
Shelter 4,680 5,300 6,450 7,490 9,170
Transportation 1,570 3,230 4,290 5,350 7,700
Personal taxes 480 2,340 4,990 7,930 18,040

Households with the lowest income spent an estimated $2,690 per person on food in 2001 on average, about one-half the level of $5,160 spent by those with the highest incomes. Similarly, spending on shelter amounted to about $4,680 per person for the households with the lowest incomes, and $9,170 for those with the highest.

Average spending highest in Ontario, Alberta

Only two provinces reported average levels of household spending above the national average of $57,730 in 2001: Alberta at $65,770 and Ontario at $64,370. Yukon and the Northwest Territories were also above the national average. Newfoundland and Labrador continued to have the lowest provincial average, $46,650.

Nationally, food and shelter together accounted for 30% of the household budget. Households in most provinces and territories hovered around this mark, except for those in Nunavut, which devoted an average of just over 37% of their budgets to food and shelter.

In Nunavut, food spending took an average of 23% of the household budget, double the national level of 11%; shelter took 15%, compared with 19% nationally. Higher food spending was mainly due to the higher cost of food, but also to larger households in Nunavut.

Average household expenditure by province and territory
  2000 2001
$ current
Northwest Territories .. 68,310
Alberta 62,090 65,770
Ontario 62,740 64,370
Yukon .. 63,580
British Columbia 55,670 57,350
Nunavut .. 53,030
Manitoba 50,360 51,840
Quebec 48,320 50,170
Nova Scotia1 48,620 49,050
Saskatchewan 46,970 48,520
New Brunswick1 47,090 47,620
Prince Edward Island 45,080 47,020
Newfoundland and Labrador 43,240 46,650
1Change not statistically significant from 2000 to 2001.
..Data not available.

Available on CANSIM: tables 203-0001 to 203-0018.

Information on methods and data quality available in the Integrated Meta Data Base: survey number 3508.

Two tables presenting summary-level household spending data are available free on Statistics Canada's website: Canada and the provinces and selected metropolitan areas. A table presenting dwelling characteristics and household equipment is also available.

A user guide (62F0026MIE, free) presenting information about survey methodology, concepts and data quality is available on Statistics Canada's website (). From the Products and services page, under Browse our Internet publications, choose Free, then Personal finance and household finance.

Ten detailed tables are available at $125 per table. Of these 10 tables, five present detailed household spending data: Canada, provinces and selected metropolitan areas (62F0031XDB); Household income quintile, Canada and provinces (62F0032XDB); Housing tenure, Canada (62F0033XDB); Household type, Canada (62F0034XDB); and Size of area of residence, Canada (62F0035XDB).

The remaining five tables present data on dwelling characteristics and household equipment: Canada, provinces and selected metropolitan areas (62F0041XDB); Income quintile, Canada (62F0042XDB); Housing tenure, Canada (62F0043XDB); Household type, Canada (62F0044XDB); and Size of area of residence, Canada (62F0045XDB).

Custom tabulations are also available. A public-use microdata file is scheduled for release in May 2003 with a publication to follow in June 2003.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (1-888-297-7355; 613-951-7355;, Income Statistics Division.

Average household expenditure and budget share
  Average expenditure Share of budget Average expenditure Share of budget Average expenditure Share of budget
1999 2000 2001
$ current % $ current % $ current %
Total expenditure 53,450   55,830   57,730  
Personal taxes 11,560 21.6 12,010 21.5 12,220 21.2
Shelter 10,240 19.2 10,500 18.8 10,980 19.0
Transportation 6,880 12.9 7,580 13.6 7,600 13.2
Food 6,100 11.4 6,220 11.1 6,430 11.1
Recreation 2,960 5.5 3,170 5.7 3,450 6.0
Personal insurance payments and pension contributions 2,840 5.3 3,130 5.6 3,120 5.4
Household operation 2,410 4.5 2,520 4.5 2,620 4.5
Clothing 2,320 4.3 2,350 4.2 2,400 4.2
Household furnishings and equipment 1,480 2.8 1,560 2.8 1,660 2.9
Gifts of money and contributions 1,360 2.5 1,300 2.3 1,260 2.2
Health care 1,260 2.4 1,360 2.4 1,420 2.5
Tobacco products and alcoholic beverages 1,180 2.2 1,220 2.2 1,310 2.3
Miscellaneous expenditures 860 1.6 830 1.5 870 1.5
Education 760 1.4 830 1.5 900 1.6
Personal care 710 1.3 740 1.3 960 1.7
Reading materials and other printed matter 270 0.5 280 0.5 280 0.5
Games of chance expense (net) 270 0.5 260 0.5 270 0.5

Home | Search | Contact Us | Français Return to top of page
Date Modified: 2002-12-11 Important Notices