The All-Canadian Wealth Test 2015 charts



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How does your income stack up?

Have you ever wanted to know how much your neighbour makes but were too polite to ask? Here’s your chance to find out. We divvy up the population into five equal groups to show the range of incomes for both unattached individuals and families of two or more. For instance, if you’re single and making $30,000 a year before taxes, then you’d be ahead of the poorest 40% of Canadians, but behind the richest 40%.

Income Inequality

Forget the glass ceiling: when it comes to the salary gap between the sexes, women have hit a brick wall. Women between the ages of 45 and 54 earn on average about $23,600 less than men in that same cohort, which is virtually unchanged from where it was five years ago, but the gap is narrower than back in 2000.

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Bright lights, big incomes

How your income stacks up against the rest of Canada is one thing, but if you really want to see how well you’re doing it’s best to compare yourself to the people around you. The tables below break down incomes by province and for the 10 largest cities in Canada. It makes a difference. For example, a middle income in all of Ontario is about $72,000, but that’s about $11,500 less than a middle income in Ottawa and some $4,500 more than a middle income in London, Ont.
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Net Worth

Losses, losses

Back in 2009 Canadian households saw their wealth dip by 10%. But the rebound was swift and complete: those net worths are 15% higher than they were five years ago. Since 2006, the average Canadian household has added about $75,000 to its net worth.
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Are you rich?

ou might be earning the big bucks, but income alone doesn’t make you wealthy. Your net worth is the best measure of overall wealth. It takes into account everything you own (real estate, pensions, RRSPs and other investments) minus everything you owe. When it comes to wealth, not surprisingly, families have the edge over individuals. The collective net worth of the lowest 40% of individuals wouldn’t match the poorest 20% of families.
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Share the wealth

Families can build wealth faster than individuals because they’re able to pool their resources, which enables them to pay down debts faster and make larger purchases. And what a difference it makes: between ages 55 and 65 families are worth, on average, a whopping $670,000 more than unattached individuals in the same age group.
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Being rich is relative

What about Canada’s biggest cities? Typically, middle-class households—and even those in the second-highest quintile—have net worths that fall in line with the national averages. While there are some variations, only Montreal and Quebec City underperform, which is mainly because households in Quebec are younger than other provinces and so have had less time to build up net worth, says Miron. The average net worth in the wealthiest quintiles is far more robust: $1,813,261 for Toronto, $1,849,689 for Calgary and $1,759,204 for Vancouver.
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What’s the source of your net worth?

In Canada, home ownership is playing an increasingly large role in determining how wealthy we are—thanks to our seemingly bubble-proof housing boom. The tables below break down the average household net worth by province and by city, showing the true value of our assets minus our debt. Not surprisingly, in every region and major urban centre, the value of our real estate holdings outweigh our more immediately accessible liquid assets. Even economic powerhouse Alberta can’t buck this trend, nor can its shining star Calgary, the financial centre of western Canada.
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8 comments on “The All-Canadian Wealth Test 2015 charts

  1. The tables don’t seem to be consistent with each other. At the top of the article, the first table shows that the top 20% of families nationwide makes $125K or more. In the third table, the top 20% make almost $227K. What am I missing?


    • Table 1 shows the boundaries of the quintiles, whereas #3 shows average or, perhaps, median.


  2. Are the income figures median or average?

    The tables using the percentiles aren’t fully clear as to the methodology used (is the poorest 20% figure that of the 20%’ers?. If so, the richest 20% figure is definitely not the 100% number. The opposite way (the poorest 20% figure being the 0% number) doesn’t make sense either, so I’m guessing that this is a) the median within each range, b) the average within the ranges, or c) the midpoint (ie 10, 30, 50, 70, and 90th percentiles). The calculations were done; either don’t take shortcuts on the presentation, or present the numbers at a higher level than to the exact $.

    Then again, the sample sizes, sampling method and statistical accuracy of the figures are also omitted. Perhaps I’m asking too much…


  3. Seems like an awful lot of work just to determine that the middle class is still the middle class.


  4. Lots of magical math here. Provinces like Alberta are not current as of the oil bust and BC/Ont depends on the Real Estate boom/bust not happening, Means nothing to real Canadians with real problems and pay cheque to pay cheque living. Eastern Canada, well that is another story….


  5. So… The poorest 20% Canadians have an average net worth of 96776? The poorest 20%? That’s higher than the average net worth of Americans. I have a hard time believing that the bottom 20% could have that much. Only about 70% of Canadians are home owners, so 30% of them should not have much networth at all because the majority of the networth is derived from their house. The average house is roughly equal to the average net worth. I can believe that top 20% Canadians have an average of 1.2 million dollars, just look at the crap shacks that cost a million in Toronto and Vancouver! That also means that your average wealthy Canadian only has 100-200k in non-housing assets, but bottom 20% having an average of close to 100k of non-housing assest somehow as well? OP is smoking some serious weed.


  6. I think the best way to deal with the uncertainties of a housing bubble with respect to net worth, would to find the smallest home you could deal with in the event you had to sell – lost job, etc. Take the current market value of this smaller home and subtract it from your current home to come up with a realistic picture of net worth. After all, you need to live somewhere, so taking entire value of your current home would be rather optimistic but excluding it would be overly conservative. This also reduces the distortion of real estate market levels on your net worth picture.


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