Canadians are Making More Money – Kind of

Median Income Grows to $70,336

The results from last year’s national census about family incomes have been released. Below is a table showing how much we all made in 2015. Overall the median national income was $70,336. This means half of Canadian households made more than this number, and the other half made less.

Atlantic provinces and Quebec saw the lowest median incomes for some reason. There seems to be a trend for younger people to leave Newfoundland and Labrador in search of better job opportunities in other provinces. I often hear people complain that jobs pay less in B.C. than in other provinces. According to the data above, it appears B.C. is right in the middle with a rank of 7 out of 13 for household incomes. Not too bad. 🙂


Comparing 2015 Incomes to 2005

Keep in mind that inflation (as measured by CPI) has eroded about 19% of our money during the 10 year span between 2005 and 2015. But the data is inflation adjusted to 2015 constant dollars as a commentator pointed out below.

However income is just one aspect of personal finance and doesn’t necessary determine how well off households are. For example just about anyone who held real estate in Canada between 2005 and 2015 would have experienced tremendous growth to their home equity. This wealth could be used to either create passive income or lower their housing costs through gradually reducing the cost of their mortgage over time.

  • To be in the top 10% of all income earners in Canada you would have to make over $93,390.
  • To be in the top 5%, you’d have to earn at least $120,219
  • To be in the top 1%, you’d require an income of $234,129 or higher.

If you want to know exactly how you compare to other people of your demographic, you can plot your income on this fun interactive chart released by Statscan. 🙂 This is for individual incomes. For example, I learned that for my ripe-old-age of 30, my earnings are in the top 10% of my cohort. Not too shabby.


Additional key findings from the Census

  • Ontario had the slowest growth in median income since 2005.
  • Fewer children living in low income. But there are more low income seniors.
  • The incomes of 32.0% of couples were fairly equal (both earning from 40% to 60% of the couple’s total income).
  • Same-sex couples have higher incomes. For example, over 12% of male same-sex couples had household incomes over $200,000, compared with 8.4% of opposite-sex couples. (Time to find me a boyfriend, lol. Just kidding.)
  • 67% of the population aged 15 and over reported income taxes. This means about 1/3rd of Canadians didn’t pay income tax in 2015.
  • Of 14 million households, 65% are saving for retirement.

Overall this was a pretty cool look at recent Canadian household incomes. 🙂



Random Useless Fact

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09/15/2017 7:13 am

Hey I’m sure you’re aware but this is “household” income so in many cases, there is more than one income earner. The tables clearly show this but it’s not clear in your phrasing here. When you look at individual incomes, that median household income puts you in the 80th percentile in most parts of Canada.


I’m not saying you didn’t know that but it’s misleading to say that half of Canadians made more than $70k.

09/16/2017 7:15 am

All of those median income figures are in 2015 dollars, they’re adjusted for inflation.

John R
John R
09/17/2017 3:30 am

I say someone somewhere is fiddling the numbers, especially when there are so many people in minimum wage jobs or when their income is not enough to pay for a basic life living in Canada. Of course getting the minimum wage and living in Vancouver or Toronto, is different than in other parts of Canada

As of August 2017

09/25/2017 9:28 am

Great summary! So 35% aren’t saving for retirement… Scary

10/05/2017 10:22 pm

Why are 30% of people not paying income taxes? That’s a pretty high number.

Also interesting about same sex couples earning more, I wonder if this is because having children usually results in one of the parents (of non same sex couples) working only part time or quitting the workforce to take care of the child). This is assuming the generalization that same sex couples have fewer children (eg don’t adopt or have a surrogate).