Canadian Income Levels Up Dramatically – Census Data

Canadian income levels rose more than 10% in the decade between 2005 and 2015, according to new census data released on Wednesday.

The census data issued by Statistics Canada in Ottawa showed that the median total income of Canadian households reached $70,336 in 2015, a 10.8% increase from $63,457 in 2005.

Among the provinces, Alberta, with its booming oil and natural gas sector, had the highest household income level at $93,835 a year, while New Brunswick in Atlantic Canada had the lowest median household income level at $59,347 per annum.

The Northwest Territories, where residents receive generous government allowances for living in the Arctic region, had the highest total median income in all of Canada at $117,688 a household per year, followed by Nunavut at $97,441. The largest income gains were recorded in Saskatchewan, which saw its median household income level rise 36.5% since 2005 to $75,412 a year – fueled by a burgeoning biotech and science industry. Conversely, a struggling manufacturing sector held median income growth in Ontario and Quebec to 3.8% and 8.9%, respectively.

“The biggest thing that jumps out, when you look at median household income, is the clustering of growth in provinces and cities,” said Brian Murphy, Chief of Analysis for census income at Statistics Canada. “The strong growth has been in the West, the North and Newfoundland, so areas related to high resource development, so a lot of construction follows … in the flip side of that, Ontario shows up as having below-normal growth.”

The census data also showed that Canadians are saving for retirement. Among Canada's 14 million households, 65.2% contributed to either a registered pension plan, a registered retirement savings plan or a tax-free savings account. About 30% of households contributed to more than one savings plan, and 9.3% contributed to all three. And nearly 96% of Canada's 8.2 million married or common-law couples saw both spouses report income in 2015, significantly more than about two-thirds of couples in the mid-1970s.