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Income of families and individuals: Sub-provincial data from the T1 Family File, 2017

Released: 2019-07-11

Canadian median incomes rose from 2016 to 2017, with most census metropolitan areas posting increases

Median after-tax income of families and individuals not in families was $52,330 in 2017, up 1.8% from $51,410 in 2016. Median incomes increased in all census metropolitan areas (CMAs) with the exception of St. John's (-1.5% to $55,480), Calgary (-1.1% to $63,830), Oshawa (-0.9% to $60,810) and Saskatoon (-0.1% to $58,410). St. John's, Calgary and Saskatoon also experienced decreases in their median income from 2015 to 2016 due in part to the fact that natural resource sector industries comprised a larger portion of the local economy.

All Quebec CMAs recorded strong growth in median after-tax incomes from 2016 to 2017, including Saguenay (+4.3%), Québec (+4.2%), Montréal (+3.5%), Trois-Rivières (+3.4%) and Sherbrooke (+3.2%). This was also true for the Quebec portion of Ottawa–Gatineau which grew by 5.0%. The Quebec CMAs were closely followed by Victoria (+2.1%), Kelowna (+2.0%) and Vancouver (+1.8%). According to the previously-released Annual review of the labour market, 2017, the province of Quebec had experienced the largest increase of weekly earnings in 2017, while British Columbia had the biggest decline in unemployment rate. Both provinces also had above average annual employment growth in that year.

Median incomes increases over five years, but growth rate varies across census metropolitan areas

Over a five-year period, the median after-tax income of families and individuals not in families increased 4.6%, from $50,040 in 2012 to $52,330 in 2017. Median after-tax income increased in all CMAs except Calgary (-1.0%), while Edmonton experienced relatively slow growth (+0.1%). The highest five-year growth was observed in the CMA of Lethbridge (+8.5%), followed by Vancouver (+7.5%) and Montréal (+6.6 %). Among Alberta CMAs, Lethbridge has less reliance on the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector and the associated professional scientific and technical services industry, and therefore was not affected by the slowdown of the natural resource sector to the same degree as Calgary and Edmonton.

National low income measure has fallen between 2012 and 2017, and remained unchanged in 2017 

Based on the Census Family After-tax Low-income Measure (CFLIM-AT), persons are in low income if their after-tax income is below 50% of the median after-tax income, adjusted for census family size (see Note to readers).

Accordingly, 16.8% of individuals were low income in 2017, unchanged from 2016. Among the CMAs, most changes were less than 0.2 percentage points. Larger declines in the low-income rate were observed in Lethbridge (down from 12.7% in 2016 to 12.1% in 2017), Saint John (down from 17.0% in 2016 to 16.7% in 2017) and Edmonton (down from 13.2% in 2016 to 12.9% in 2017). The biggest increases were in Regina (up from 14.2% in 2016 to 14.8% in 2017) and Saskatoon (up from 15.5% in 2016 to 16.1% in 2017).

Over a longer period, the proportion of individuals in low income fell at the national level, from 17.5% in 2012 to 16.8% in 2017. CMAs in Southern Ontario experienced sizable declines in their low-income rates over this period, with the CMA of Belleville having the largest decline, from 16.8% in 2012 to 14.5% in 2017. Large declines were also seen in Windsor (down 2.0 percentage points), Toronto (down 1.8 percentage points), St. Catharines–Niagara and Hamilton (both down 1.4 percentage points). Elsewhere, Lethbridge (down 2.3 percentage points) and Vancouver (down 1.3 percentage points) also had larger than average declines in their low-income rates over the 2012 to 2017 period. The biggest increases of the low-income rate were in Saskatoon (up from 15.1% in 2012 to 16.1% in 2017), Edmonton (up from 12.1% in 2012 to 12.9% in 2017) and Calgary (up from 13.0% in 2012 to 13.6% in 2017), although these CMAs were still below the national low-income rate in 2017.

Looking at sub-provincial data

Sub-provincial data tables for 35 CMAs and 117 census agglomerations (CAs) are linked to this release. The most recent sub-provincial income information for families and individuals can also be explored in an interactive format by visiting the Sources of family income by family type, sub-provincial regions, T1 Family File: Interactive tool and the Income of men and women, sub-provincial regions, T1 Family File: Interactive tool.

Presented below is a sample of sub-provincial information for two mid-size areas, along with the relevant table numbers. When accessing these tables, users can select the geography and then modify the table content by using the "Add/Remove data" feature.

The latest 2017 data for the CA of Rouyn-Noranda (Quebec) shows that the median after-tax income of families and individuals not in families in this area was $51,900 (table 11-10-0017-01). These families were made up of 41,860 tax filers and dependants (table 11-10-0004-01). When looking at the source of income of all families and individuals not in families, 71.1% came from employment income, while 15.3% came from government transfers (derived from table 11-10-0014-01). According to the CFLIM-AT, the low-income rate for the area was 11.9% (table 11-10-0018-01). Of the 10,230 couple families in this area, half (5,130 couple families) had a total income (before tax) greater than $100,000 (table 11-10-0012-01).

For the CA of Parksville (British Columbia), the 2017 median after-tax income of families and individuals not in families was $53,780 (table 11-10-0017-01). These families were made up of 30,050 tax filers and dependants (table 11-10-0004-01). When looking at the source of income of all families and individuals not in families, 42.4% came from employment income, while 21.6% came from government transfers (derived from table 11-10-0014-01). According to the CFLIM-AT, the low-income rate for the area was 11.8% (table 11-10-0018-01). Of the 9,050 couple families in this area, a third (3,170 couple families) had a total income (before tax) greater than $100,000 (table 11-10-0012-01).

  Note to readers

Individual and family income data for 2017 are now available from the T1 Family File (T1FF). Data are derived from personal income tax returns filed in spring 2018, and are available for Canada, the provinces and territories, as well as various sub-provincial/territorial geographic areas. Data are not adjusted on the basis of Statistics Canada's population estimates.

In this release, income has been adjusted for inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index, and is expressed in 2017 dollars.

This release uses the census family concept. A census family refers to a married or a common-law couple, with or without children at home, or a lone-parent family. Results also include persons not in a census family.

After-tax income refers to total income less income taxes. Income taxes refers to the sum of federal income taxes, provincial and territorial income taxes, less abatement where applicable. Total income includes employment income, dividend and interest income, government transfers, pension income and other income. In accordance with international standards, capital gains are excluded from total income.

This release reports on low-income statistics using the Census Family After-tax Low-Income Measure (CFLIM-AT). Individuals are defined as being in low income if their adjusted after-tax income falls below 50% of the national median adjusted after-tax income. Adjusted after-tax income is derived by dividing census family income by the square root of census family size and assigning this to all members of the census family. Persons not in census families are treated as census families of size 1. Data based on the CFLIM-AT methodology can be found in tables 11-10-0018-01 and 11-10-0020-01.

Low-income estimates reported in this release differ from those reported in other sources, such as the 2016 Census or the Canadian Income Survey (CIS). Reasons for this include differences in the unit of analysis and the data coverage. The census and CIS report on low income using the household unit of analysis (instead of census family), and exclude the territories, collective dwellings and Indian reserves. Users interested in more details can refer to the paper "Low Income Measure: Comparison of Two Data Sources, T1 Family File and 2016 Census of Population."

The median is the point at which half of the families' after-tax incomes are higher and half are lower.

All data in this release have been tabulated according to the 2016 Standard Geographical Classification used for the 2016 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.

More detailed individual and family tables on dividend and interest income (11-10-0067-01, 11-10-0068-01 and 11-10-0070-01) and taxable capital gains (11-10-0069-01 and 11-10-0071-01) were added in this release. They include data for 2016 and 2017.


The Technical Reference Guide for the Annual Income Estimates for Census Families, Individuals and Seniors, T1 Family File, Final Estimates (Catalogue number72-212-X), presents information about the methodology, concepts and data quality for the data available in this release.

Data for Income of Families (Catalogue number13C0016, various prices), Income of Individuals (Catalogue number13C0015, various prices), and Income of Seniors (Catalogue number89C0022, various prices) are available for Canada, the provinces and territories, federal electoral districts, economic regions, census divisions, census metropolitan areas, census agglomerations, census tracts, and postal-based geographies. These custom services are available upon request.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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