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Income Trends in Canada 1976 to 2007

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What you should know


Income Trends in Canada is an extensive collection of income statistics, covering topics such as income distribution, income tax, government transfers, and low income. The data prior to 1993 are drawn from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF).  Beginning with 1998, the data are taken from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID).  For the 1993 to 1997 period, estimates are based on a combined sample from SCF and SLID.

All income estimates are expressed in constant 2007 dollars to factor in inflation and allow for comparisons across time in real terms.

Income Trends in Canada provides a complete list of the tables and directions for getting started. It also contains background information on the survey, its content and methodology, and other SLID data products and services

In addition to provincial detail, many of the tables present estimates for the 15 largest Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs), as follows: Halifax, Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa-Gatineau, Toronto, St.-Catharines-Niagara, Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Windsor, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Victoria. Due to sample size limitations and sampling variability, estimates for urban areas are less reliable and are subject to larger errors than provincial and national estimates. Given the variability of the annual estimates, users are cautioned against drawing conclusions from single year-to-year comparisons alone.

What you should know

A. Cell suppression and reliability of small data cells

Cell suppression has been applied to the tables as necessary to take into account the lower reliability of data for smaller sample sizes. (Refer to the “Methodology” section for more information on suppression and data quality). In certain cases, particularly where the geographic area covered is small in terms of population or where any other characteristic used to define the population is rare, this results in small sample sizes and as a result, the reliability of the statistic may be too low to publish. Suitable rules of reliability were used to screen the data.

In a few table views, the number of suppressed data points may make the entire table view somewhat unusable. While the tables could have been designed to eliminate certain categories or dimensions from the outset, this would most likely mean simultaneously eliminating some usable content. Instead, the approach has been to include all views of the table (no elimination of any categories of any dimensions), and rely on cell-by-cell data suppression to screen data that are not reliable.

B. SLID population estimates

The 900 series “Background tables” provide SLID population estimates of the number of individuals and economic/census families for Canada, provinces and selected CMAs. Users should be aware that these SLID estimates differ from official Statistics Canada population estimates. Unlike official population estimates, there are many segments of the population that are not included in the SLID survey, including residents of the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, residents of institutions and persons living on Indian reserves. Overall, these exclusions amount to less than three percent of the population.

C. Missing values for characteristics other than income

Both SLID and the SCF have complete data on all respondents for age, sex, family relationships and income characteristics. However, only the SCF has complete data without missing values for all labour market characteristics and education since the SCF was conducted as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey, which provided the base labour data entirely edited and imputed. To the extent that there are missing values in a dimension, identified as the category "unknown", there could be an undercount in any or all of the other categories.