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Financial Security - Family Income

Relevance

The family serves as a basic economic unit, with members providing support to one another. The level of after-tax income of family members determines whether families have sufficient resources to purchase the goods and services needed for well-being.

Summary

  • National Picture — In 2011, the median after-tax income in Canada stood at $68,000 for economic families and at $25,800 for unattached individuals.
  • Family Types — In 2011, couples with children had the highest level of median after-tax income and unattached individuals had the lowest.
  • Regions — In 2011, median after-tax incomes were the highest in Alberta for both economic families and unattached individuals. For economic families and individuals living in the largest urban areas, the median after-tax income was higher than the national median.
  • Government Transfers as a Component of Family Income — In 2011, government transfers represented on average 11.1% of the total income of economic families and 18.3% of the total income of unattached individuals. However, they represented more than half of the total income of low income individuals and families.

National Picture

The median after-tax income in Canada stood at $68,000 in 2011 for economic families and at $25,800 for unattached individuals. Median after-tax income (in 2011 constant dollars) for unattached individuals ranged from a low of $20,400 in 1997 to a high of $26,800 in 2011. The median after-tax income for economic families experienced decreases in the early 1980s and 1990s, reaching the lowest level of the last 35 years in 1993 at $53,200.

The median after-tax income for both economic families and unattached individuals started to increase again in 1998. In economic families, it continued to grow through 2011, and for unattached individuals, it peaked in 2010.  


This Chart contains data for Median after-tax income, by family unit, Canada, 1976-2011. Information is available in table below

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 202-0605 - Median after-tax income, by economic family type, 2011 constant dollars, annual (dollars), CANSIM (database).


Warning: This data table may contain very wide content. Horizontal scrolling may be necessary.

Median after-tax income, by family unit, Canada, 1976-2011 (2011 constant dollars)
197619771978197919801981198219831984198519861987198819891990199119921993199419951996199719981999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011
All families48,00048,80048,80048,30049,50048,20046,70044,90045,40045,60045,30045,10046,30047,00045,10042,70043,10042,00042,30042,20041,60041,40042,50044,40044,70046,50046,50046,40046,80047,80049,00050,40051,10051,00050,80050,700
Economic families57,40058,10058,70058,50059,60058,50056,40054,90055,70056,30056,60056,40058,00058,90056,70054,60055,00053,20054,20053,70053,60053,90055,90057,80058,70061,10061,00060,90061,70062,80064,20066,70067,40067,30067,40068,000
Unattached individuals22,00021,60022,40023,00022,00023,40022,70020,50021,80021,50021,90022,20022,30023,50022,20020,80020,80020,80020,60021,00020,50020,40021,10021,60022,30023,40024,30023,90024,10023,90024,90025,80026,20026,60026,80025,800

Family Types

In 2011, the highest median after-tax incomes were for couples with children ($83,600) and couples without children ($66,500). The lowest were for unattached individuals ($25,800) and lone-parent families ($41,400). The median after-tax income for elderly families was $49,300, below the median for all families at $50,700.


This Chart contains data for Median after-tax income, by family type, 2011. Information is available in table below

Note: Family types are exclusive of one another. The category 'All families' includes all the types of households identified in this chart.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 202-0605 - Median after-tax income, by economic family type, 2011 constant dollars, annual (dollars), CANSIM (database).


Warning: This data table may contain very wide content. Horizontal scrolling may be necessary.

Median after-tax income, by family type, 2011 (dollars)
All familiesUnattached individualsLone-parent familiesCouples with childrenCouples without childrenElderly families
50,70025,80041,40083,60066,50049,300

Regions

The median after-tax income for economic families varied across Canada in 2011. Families living in Alberta ($83,800), Saskatchewan ($75,000) and Ontario ($70,400) had the highest median after-tax incomes. Families in Prince Edward Island had the lowest median after-tax income at $59,500.

For families living in one of the large urban areas, the median after-tax income was $72,600, which is higher than the national median of $68,000. The median income was lower for all other areas, at $61,300 in 2011.


This Chart contains data for Median after-tax income, economic families, by region, 2011. Information is available in table below

Note: The category "Large urban areas" is made up of the 20 largest Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs). For the list of areas included in the category 'Large urban areas', see large urban areas. The category 'Other areas' includes all of the other Canadian urban areas as well as rural communities.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 202-0605 - Median after-tax income, by economic family type, 2011 constant dollars, annual (dollars), CANSIM (database).


Warning: This data table may contain very wide content. Horizontal scrolling may be necessary.

Median after-tax income, economic families, by region, 2011 (dollars)
CANNLPENSNBQCONMBSKABBCLarge urban areasOther areas
68,00060,30059,50061,10060,00060,00070,40065,30075,00083,80069,70072,60061,300

Among unattached individuals, the median after-tax income varied from $22,600 for those living in Newfoundland and Labrador to $32,100 for those living in Alberta in 2011. Unattached indiviudals living in one of the largest urban areas had a higher median after-tax income ($26,900) than those living in other areas ($23,500).


This Chart contains data for Median after-tax income, unattached individuals, by region, 2011. Information is available in table below

Note: The category "Large urban areas" is made up of the 20 largest Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs). For the list of areas included in the category 'Large urban areas', see large urban areas. The category 'Other areas' includes all of the other Canadian urban areas as well as rural communities.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 202-0605 - Median after-tax income, by economic family type, 2011 constant dollars, annual (dollars), CANSIM (database).


Warning: This data table may contain very wide content. Horizontal scrolling may be necessary.

Median after-tax income, unattached individuals, by region, 2011 (dollars)
CANNLPENSNBQCONMBSKABBCLarge urban areasOther areas
25,80022,60022,80022,90023,30024,40025,90027,10029,60032,10024,30026,90023,500

Government Transfers as a Component of Family Income

The ratio of government transfers to income from all sources stood at 11.1% in 2011 for economic families and at 18.3% for unattached individuals. In 1976, the ratio was 7.6% for economic families and 12.4% for unattached individuals. Government transfers as a share of total income increased in the early 1980s and 1990s, coinciding with periods of recession. The proportion of transfers in total income began to fall in the mid-1990s, but has remained above the 1976 level.


This Chart contains data for Proportion of government transfers in total income, by family unit, Canada, 1976-2011. Information is available in table below

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 202-0605 - Median after-tax income, by economic family type, 2011 constant dollars, annual (dollars), CANSIM (database).


Warning: This data table may contain very wide content. Horizontal scrolling may be necessary.

Proportion of government transfers in total income, by family unit, Canada, 1976-2011 (percent)
197619771978197919801981198219831984198519861987198819891990199119921993199419951996199719981999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011
All families8.28.88.78.18.78.810.711.211.511.211.111111112.213.814.615.21514.314.213.813.412.211.511.911.911.911.711.411.611.411.412.512.812.4
Economic families7.68.28.17.47.87.99.910.210.510.210.19.99.79.810.912.313.113.713.312.912.612.111.810.810.110.610.610.710.610.410.710.410.311.511.811.1
Unattached individuals12.413.113.312.41414.115.217.417.417.217.117.517.917.319.121.922.623.423.921.922.822.721.719.118.818.618.617.517.416.415.91616.617.417.518.3

Government transfers are more important for individuals and economic families with low earnings, including retired seniors.

In 2011, government transfers accounted for, on average, 51.1% of total income for economic families in the bottom 20% income group and 23.9% for those in the next 20% income group. Among economic families in the middle 20% income group, 13.9% of total income came from government transfers, while for the second highest and the highest groups, government transfers represented 7.0% and 3.0% of total income respectively[1].

Government transfers also accounted for a larger share of total income for unattached individuals than for economic families. In 2011, unattached individuals in the two lowest income groups received more than half of their total income from government transfers (64.6% for the lowest income group and 57.6% for the second lowest income group). This compares to 30.3% for those in the middle income group, 13.1% for those in the second highest income group and 4.2% for the highest[2].


Footnotes

  1. Statistics Canada. Table 202-0301 - Government transfers, by economic family type and after-tax income quintiles, 2011 constant dollars, annual, CANSIM (database).

    [Back to Text]
  2. Statistics Canada. Table 202-0301 - Government transfers, by economic family type and after-tax income quintiles, 2011 constant dollars, annual, CANSIM (database).

    [Back to Text]

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