Rich get richer, poor get poorer

Stats Can study shows wages for those in middle 'stagnated'


The proportion of Canadians who earned more than $100,000 has nearly doubled from 1980 to 2005, according to Statistics Canada.

New data from the 2006 census shows 3.4 per cent of Canadians working full time in 1980 earned $100,000 (in 2005 constant dollars). This proportion rose to 6.5 per cent in 2005.

During that 25-year time frame, median earnings among the top 20 per cent of earners increased by 16.4 per cent. Earnings among those in the bottom one-fifth of the spectrum declined 20.6 per cent while earnings for those in the middle “stagnated.” Median earnings of full-time workers changed little, from an average of $41,348 in 1980 to $41,401 in 2005.

Immigrants also fared worse in 2005. In 1980, immigrant men earned 85 cents for each dollar earned by Canadian-born men. That ratio dropped to 63 cents in 2005. The ratio for immigrant women was 85 cents and 56 cents, respectively.

Couples with children had the highest median family income at $82,943, up 21.6 per cent from 1980. Couples without children had a median family income of $59,834, up 14.6 per cent from 1980.

Employment earnings accounted for $78 of every $100 of income earned in 2005, considerably down from $84 in 1980. Government transfer payments, such as Old Age Security, employment insurance benefits, child benefits and GST credits, accounted for $9.90 of every $100 earned. Investment income represented $4.20 and retirement income sources accounted for $5.90, a two-fold increase from $2.30 in 1980.

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