Census 2016: Prairies, commodity boom drive growth in national incomes

Marco Green
September 14, 2017

Quebec's median household income growth was among the lowest in the country over the past 10 years, according to census figures made public Wednesday. And the younger a child is, the more likely they are to be living in poverty - something Statistics Canada says is linked to new mothers' earnings typically dropping the year that they give birth and for several years thereafter.

Slightly more than 15 per cent of British Columbians remain under the low-income cutoff - a number that has barely changed in the past decade.

Children in Atlantic Canada are most likely to be living in low-income households: more than one in five in all Maritime provinces. Canada ranks lower than many of its worldwide peers on social spending and other methods of combatting economic inequality, despite having signed on to the Sustainable Development Goals which set global objectives for 2030 including the elimination of poverty. "However, it is clear that we need a comprehensive and national plan to address the causes of poverty at their root and that takes into consideration the perspectives of those who have lived experience". In the GTA, Oakville had the highest median income at $113,666.

Canada Without Poverty (CWP) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, and charitable organization dedicated to ending poverty in Canada. Data for this year to measure the impact of the Liberal's $23-billion-a-year child benefit program won't be available for at least three more years.

Despite the second-lowest median income level in Canada, Quebec (14.3 per cent) was second only to Alberta (12.8 per cent) in having the lowest percentage of children in low-income households, thanks to lower child care costs and richer child benefits than elsewhere. New Brunswick had the lowest at $59,347, followed by Quebec at $59,822 and Nova Scotia at $60,764. "There could be differences in government transfers".

"The fact that low income is stable means that people at the bottom of the (income) distribution are more or less keeping up with that growth", said Andrew Heisz, assistant director in Statistics Canada's income statistics division. "There could be differences in the labour market participation of parents", said Heisz. Female same-sex couples had a median income of $92,857 and make couples had a median income of $100,707.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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