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Income in Canada



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  1. Median after-tax income rose for most Canadian families in 2006 as strong economic growth fostered gains in employment which in turn boosted market income, according to new data from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID).
  2. The 2006 median after-tax income rose 2.1% to $58,300 for Canadian families, after adjusting for inflation. Median after-tax income of unattached individuals rose 4.6% to $22,800 in 2006.
  3. For the third consecutive year, families living in Alberta had the highest median after-tax income ($70,500), followed by those in Ontario ($62,400) and British Columbia ($60,300).
  4. Median market income in 2006 increased 1.8% (from $65,600 to $66,800) for families whose main income earner was under 65 years of age, while senior families’ median market income remained virtually unchanged at $23,300. Unattached seniors saw an increase of $1,000 in their median market income in 2006 ($6,900), while unattached non-seniors did not experience a significant change in their median market income.
  5. Families as well as unattached individuals saw a rise in government transfers, while their median taxes paid remained virtually unchanged from 2005. Families received $4,500 in government transfers in 2006 (median up $500 from 2005) and their median taxes were $9,000. Among the unattached individuals, their median government transfers increased by $100 in 2006 to $600 and they paid median taxes of $2,100.
  6. The low income situation in Canada remained relatively stable in 2006. An estimated 633,000 families were below the low income cut-off, 7.0% of the total. About 760,000 children aged 18 and under, 11.3% of the total, lived in low-income families.

SLID data also showed:

  1. Alberta and Saskatchewan were the only two provinces for which the change in after-tax family income was statistically significant. The median rose 7.0% in Alberta and 6.3% in Saskatchewan.
  2. The one-fifth of families with the lowest income had an average after-tax income of $24,600 in 2006, up 5.6% from 2005. In contrast, average after-tax income in 2006 for the 20% of families with the highest incomes was virtually unchanged at $133,900 (in real terms).
  3. The inequality gap – the dollar difference between the average after-tax income of the one-fifth of families with the highest and lowest incomes – continues to widen since the last recession. Although the inequality gap between 2005 and 2006 remained virtually unchanged, this difference increased by 27% between 1996 and 2006 for families. Among the unattached, the gap increased by 32% over the 1996 and 2006 period.
  4. An estimated 3.4 million Canadians (or 10.5%) lived in low income (after-taxes) in 2006.
  5. In 2006, approximately 307,000 children in low income lived in female lone-parent families, representing 40% of all children in low income. However, the low-income rate for these children fell from 56% in 1996, to 32% in 2006. In comparison, the proportion of children in low income living in two-parent families decreased from 12.4% in 1996 to 7.7% in 2006.
  6. The low income rate for female lone-parent families remained stable at 28% in 2006, putting an end to a three-year downward trend in their incidence of low income. This represents just over one-half of the 1996 peak of 53%.