Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Vancouver's real estate scene; Fairview slopes townhouses under construction (foreground) and high rise condo towers in the city's Yaletown district, May 3, 2013. (Bayne Stanley/The Canadian Press Images)
Vancouver's real estate scene; Fairview slopes townhouses under construction (foreground) and high rise condo towers in the city's Yaletown district, May 3, 2013. (Bayne Stanley/The Canadian Press Images)

National Household Survey finds top 1 per cent earn 7 times Canadian median Add to ...

Canadians in the top 1 per cent are paid more than $191,000 a year, according to the National Household Survey, which takes a closer look at how governments take from the rich and give to the poor.

The make-up of the 1- per-cent club is overwhelmingly male, most-likely over the age of 45 and tends to work in management jobs. Canada’s top earners are also more likely to make money through investments and self-employment income.

More Related to this Story

They also earn about seven times the national median income of $27,800.

The new data comes amid a growing debate over whether income-inequality is a national problem and if so, whether policy changes are needed.

The voluntary survey from Statistics Canada breaks down the extent to which income in Canada is distributed from higher-income Canadians through taxes to lower-income Canadians through government transfers.

The survey found that 70 per cent of the Canadian population receives some form of government transfer, with a median total income from transfers of $4,100.

Split 10 ways, people in the top three income deciles receive 55.7 per cent of the nation’s total income and pay 71.5 per cent of the nation’s total income tax. The top 10 per cent of earners receive 28.1 per cent of the nation’s income and pay 42.1 per cent of the nation’s income tax.

Overall, 63.7 per cent of the population aged 15 and over pay at least some income tax. On average, Canadians pay 16.4 per cent of their total income in income taxes.

The transfer of income from rich to poor will be closely analyzed, as will the transfer between provinces.

In three provinces – Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick – the total in transfers received is slightly more than the total taxes paid.

As a percentage of total income, Alberta is the only province where taxes exceeded transfers by more than 10 percentage points.

The latest release of information from Statistics Canada’s voluntary census survey also shows the degree to which the Canadian population is connected to just three cities.

Almost half – or 48.5 per cent – of all Canadians live in the census metropolitan areas of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

A look at home ownership reveals that 69 per cent of Canada’s 13.3 million households own their homes, which is roughly unchanged from the 68.4 per cent reported from the 2006 census.

The survey found 557,435 tenant households live in subsidized housing, with average shelter costs of $552. Over one third of those living in subsidized homes pay 30 per cent or more of their total income on shelter.

Nationally, about one quarter of Canadian households – including renters and home owners – spend 30 per cent or more of their total income on shelter. The average monthly shelter cost is $1,050. Canadians with a mortgage pay $1,585 a month on average, while the average rent in Canada is $848 a month. Broken down further, the average non-subsidized rent is $895, while the average rent in subsidized housing is $552.

Wednesday’s data is also likely to inform the ongoing debate over whether Canadians are saving enough for retirement. The survey found that six in 10 seniors had private retirement income. More than 90 per cent of Canadian seniors receive transfers from both the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security.

On average, Canadian seniors receive 29.9 per cent of their income from private sources, such as a company pension or personal savings.

As new condominiums alter the skyline of Canada’s cities, Statistics Canada took a peek to find out who is choosing apartment life. Condos are now home to one in eight Canadian households.

Focusing on the 10 cities with the most condos, the survey found just over one-quarter are renters.

Among owner-occupied condos, the survey also reports that “non-family households” – which includes singles, roommates or relatives but not married or common-law couples – makes up 45.5 per cent of condo owners.

Couple-family households – with or without children – make up 42.3 per cent of owner household in condos. That figure breaks down further to show 27.7 per cent are couple-family household with no kids and 14.4 per cent are couple-family households with kids.

The data does not include a clear breakdown of how many children – by number or percentage – are living in condos, either owned or rented. That lack of data will likely come as a disappointment to city planners, who are struggling with how to accommodate families in condo developments amid the push for intensification.

In terms of further data on income, the survey shows 10 per cent of Canadians had a total income of more than $80,400 in 2010 – in contrast to the median income of $27,800. To be in the top five per cent, a Canadian would need a total income of $102,300.

Workers in the top one per cent were far more likely – at 67 .1 per cent – to have attained a university degree, compared to 20.9 per cent of all Canadians aged 15 and over.

Because this survey was conducted voluntarily – in contrast to previous mandatory long form census responses – Statistics Canada warns that its survey results in some areas such as low income data “are not comparable” with previous census data.

Follow on Twitter: @curryb

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories