Registered retirement savings plan contributions, 2011

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Total contributions to registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) amounted to $34.4 billion in 2011, up 1.6% from 2010. Data are based on tax returns filed for 2011.

Just under 6.0 million taxfilers contributed to an RRSP in 2011, virtually unchanged from 2010. Since the number of taxfilers rose slightly during this period, the percentage of taxfilers who contributed to an RRSP slipped from 24.3% in 2010 to 24.0% in 2011.

Regionally, the highest percentage increases in the number of contributors occurred in Yukon (+2.4%) and Prince Edward Island (+2.3%). Total contributions to RRSPs increased in every province and territory. The largest increases were in Prince Edward Island (+14.3%) and Yukon (+9.4%). The smallest increase was in British Columbia (+0.1%).

To be eligible to contribute to an RRSP, a taxfiler must have either new room as a result of qualifying income from the previous year (generally employment income), or unused room from earlier years. The limit is based on 18% of the previous tax year's earned income, to a fixed maximum, less any pension adjustments, plus any unused room carried forward. The fixed maximum RRSP contribution in 2011 was $22,450, up from $22,000 in 2010.

Nationally, the median contribution was $2,830, a 1.4% increase from 2010. The median is the point at which half of the contributors contributed more, and half less.

The median contribution to RRSPs was highest in the territories: Nunavut ($4,750), Yukon ($3,480) and the Northwest Territories ($3,450). Manitoba had the lowest median contribution at $2,310.

Among census metropolitan areas (CMAs), Calgary ($3,900) contributors had the highest median RRSP contribution, followed by those in Vancouver ($3,430) and Toronto ($3,380). Historically, these three CMAs have had the highest median RRSP contributions. Contributors in Barrie ($2,210) had the lowest median RRSP contribution.

Note to readers

All data in this release have been tabulated according to the 2006 Standard Geographical Classification used for the 2006 Census.

A census metropolitan area (CMA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a population centre (also known as the core). A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000, of which 50,000 or more must live in the core.

Available in CANSIM: tables CANSIM table111-0039 to 111-0041.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number4106.

The databanks RRSP Contributors (Catalogue number17C0006, various prices), Canadian Taxfilers (Catalogue number17C0010, various prices) and RRSP Contribution Limits (Catalogue number17C0011, various prices) are now available for Canada, provinces and territories, federal electoral districts, economic regions, census divisions, census metropolitan areas, census agglomerations, census tracts and other small areas.

CANSIM tables for this release are available for Canada, province and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;