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Financial Security - Retirement Income

Relevance

Canadian seniors draw income from public and private pensions as well as from personal savings and investments. The financial security of seniors is often achieved through a balance of different sources of income. Access to these different sources of income is important to their financial security.

Summary

  • National Picture —  In 2011, 92.1% of seniors received Canada or Quebec Pension Plan benefits (CPP/QPP). A majority of seniors also had income from private pensions, RRSPs, and investments.   
  • Gender —  A smaller proportion of women than men had income from private pensions, RRSPs and CPP/QPP in 2011. A slightly higher proportion of women (97.7%) than men (95.3%) had income from OAS.
  • Regions —  In 2011, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia had higher proportions of seniors with investment income, private pensions and RRSPs than the national average.

National Picture

Canadian seniors drew their retirement income from multiple sources in 2011.

In terms of public pensions, almost all seniors (96.6%) received OAS benefits in 2011 and 92.1% of seniors had Canada or Quebec Pension Plan benefits (CPP/QPP). In 2011, almost 4.4 million seniors received CPP/QPP pensions and 4.6 million seniors had OAS pensions.

In terms of private sources of income, a majority of Canadian seniors received income from investments (54.3%) and from private pensions and RRSPs (63.6%) in 2011. One-fifth of seniors (22.6%) had earnings from employment.

Over the last 35 years, the proportion of seniors with private pensions, RRSPs or CPP/QPP benefits has grown noticeably. The proportion with income from private pensions and RRSPs has more than doubled between 1976 and 2011 from 24.0% to 63.6%. The proportion with CPP/QPP benefits increased from 35.2% to 92.1% during the same period.


This Chart contains data for Seniors with income, by income source, Canada, 1976, 1993 and 2011. Information is available in table below

Source: ESDC calculations based on Statistics Canada. Table 202-0407 - Income of individuals, by sex, age group and income source, 2011 constant dollars, annual, CANSIM (database).


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

Seniors with income, by income source, Canada, 1976, 1993 and 2011 (percent)
Public - OASPublic - CPP/QPPPrivate - InvestmentsPrivate - Pensions and RRSPsEmployment earnings
197695.735.246.324.017.2
199398.276.555.842.48.8
201196.692.154.363.622.6

Between 1976 and 2011, median income from OAS/GIS remained relatively steady at about $6,400 per year (in 2011 constant dollars). Median income from CPP/QPP increased from $3,100 to $7,000. Median income from private pensions and RRSPs increased from $6,400 to $11,800. However, median income from investments decreased from $3,400 to $1,200, and employment earnings decreased from $14,700 to $2,600. It should be noted that all medians are for those receiving the source of income in question.


This Chart contains data for Seniors' median income, by income source, Canada, 1976, 1993 and 2011. Information is available in table below

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 202-0407 - Income of individuals, by sex, age group and income source, 2011 constant dollars, annual, CANSIM (database).


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

Seniors' median income, by income source, Canada, 1976, 1993 and 2011 (2011 constant dollars)
Public - OAS/GISPublic - CPP/QPPPrivate - InvestmentsPrivate - Pensions and RRSPsEmployment earnings
19766,4003,1003,4006,40014,700
19936,5006,7002,9009,7009,800
20116,4007,0001,20011,8002,600

Public pensions (OAS/GIS and CPP/QPP combined) represented 41.2% of seniors' total income in 2011. A third (33.7%) of seniors' income came from private pensions and withdrawals from their RRSPs. The remaining proportion was split between investment income (9.3%) and other income sources (15.8%), including other market income and other government transfers.

This Chart contains data for Sources of seniors' income, 2011. Information is available in table below

Note: 'Other sources' includes employment earnings, other incomes and all government transfers other than OAS/GIS and CPP/QPP.

Source: ESDC calculations based on Statistics Canada. Table 202-0407 - Income of individuals, by sex, age group and income source, 2011 constant dollars, annual, CANSIM (database).


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

Sources of seniors' income, 2011 (percent)
Public - OAS/GISPublic - CPP/QPPPrivate - Pensions & RRSPsPrivate - InvestmentsOther sources
22.219.033.79.315.8

Gender

In 2011, 97.7% of Canadian women and 95.3% of Canadian men aged 65 and over received OAS benefits, about the same proportions as in 1976.

A smaller proportion of women (89.4%) than men (95.3%) received CPP or QPP. However, in 1976, only 21.3% of women and 52.2% of men had received the CPP or QPP.

More men than women received income from employment or private pensions and RRSPs in 2011: 30.1% of men compared to 16.3% of women had earnings, and 70.3% of men compared to 58.0% of women had income from private pensions and RRSPs. Roughly the same proportion of women (55.3%) as men (53.2%) had investment income.


This Chart contains data for Seniors with income, by gender and income source, 2011. Information is available in table below

Source: ESDC calculations based on Statistics Canada. Table 202-0407 - Income of individuals, by sex, age group and income source, 2011 constant dollars, annual, CANSIM (database).


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

Seniors with income, by gender and income source, 2011 (percent)
Public - OASPublic - CPP/QPPPrivate - InvestmentsPrivate - Pensions and RRSPsEmployment earnings
Men95.395.353.270.330.1
Women97.789.455.358.016.3

In 2011, the median income for senior women was about a third less than that of men ($20,200, compared to $30,100 for men). The largest discrepancy was with respect to median income from private pensions and RRSPs: the $8,500 received by women was barely half of the $16,300 received by men.


This Chart contains data for Seniors' median income, by gender and income source, 2011. Information is available in table below

Source: ESDC calculations based on Statistics Canada. Table 202-0407 - Income of individuals, by sex, age group and income source, 2011 constant dollars, annual, CANSIM (database).


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

Seniors' median income, by gender and income source, 2011 (dollars)
Public - OAS/GISPublic - CPP/QPPPrivate - InvestmentsPrivate - Pensions and RRSPsPrivate - Employment earnings
Men6,4007,8001,20016,3002,200
Women6,4006,2001,3008,5003,300

Regions

In terms of public pensions, the proportion of seniors receiving OAS varied little among provinces in 2011, ranging from 95.9% in Ontario to 100% in Prince Edward Island.

However, variations existed among provinces for the proportion of seniors receiving CPP/QPP. The lowest proportion was in Ontario (90.1%) and the highest in Nova Scotia (96.0%). In Canada's largest urban areas, the proportions receiving OAS and CPP/QPP were lower than in the rest of the country: 95.5% of seniors in large urban areas received OAS compared to 98.1% in the rest of the country, and 90.0% received CPP/QPP compared to 95.1% elsewhere.


This Chart contains data for Seniors with public pension income, by region, 2011. Information is available in table below

Note: The category "Large urban areas" includes 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: ESDC calculations based on Statistics Canada. Table 202-0407 - Income of individuals, by sex, age group and income source, 2011 constant dollars, annual, CANSIM (database).


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

Seniors with public pension income, by region, 2011 (percent)
CANNLPENSNBQCONMASKABBCLarge urban areasOther areas
CPP/QPP92.194.995.596.094.192.890.195.195.195.491.390.095.1
OAS96.697.5100.098.797.597.595.996.997.296.496.095.598.1

In terms of private income sources, the Atlantic provinces and Quebec had both lower proportions of seniors with investment income and lower proportions of seniors with retirement pension income than the national average. A greater proportion of seniors in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia had income from both of these sources than the national proportion. The proportion of seniors with investment income was slightly higher in the 20 largest urban areas than outside these areas.


This Chart contains data for Seniors with private sources of income, by region, 2011. Information is available in table below

Note: The category "Large urban areas" includes 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: ESDC calculations based on Statistics Canada. Table 202-0407 - Income of individuals, by sex, age group and income source, 2011 constant dollars, annual, CANSIM (database).


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

Seniors with private sources of income, by region, 2011 (percent)
CANNLPENSNBQCONMASKABBCLarge urban areasOther areas
Investments54.325.350.046.436.146.657.362.060.863.560.055.352.9
Private pensions and RRSP63.649.454.557.058.058.767.169.967.162.965.265.061.5

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