Statistics Canada has once again released some of the census results collected in 2016, revealing that, indeed, most Canadians saw their incomes climb over the past decade. But the breakdown across the country remains somewhat uneven.
Growing commodity wealth in resource-rich Western Canada, fewer jobs in the Atlantic provinces, and a shrinking manufacturing industry in Ontario and Quebec reflect a growing regional disparity – underscored by a persistent, albeit decreasing, wage gap between working men and women.
On average, Canadians saw a steady rise in their income between 2005 and 2015. The median income of individuals rose 12.7 per cent to $34,204, adjusted for inflation, and the median household income came in at $70,336, up 10.8 per cent from $63,457 a decade earlier.
More women working but still for less pay
Over that period, women’s incomes have grown more than five times faster than male counterparts – 11.6 per cent compared to 2.2 per cent. This is due mainly to the fact that so many more women entered the work force during that time, frequently working in more highly unionized fields like health care and education.
But the gender gap isn’t going away anytime soon.
While there were more women at work, men were still more likely to receive higher incomes. In 2005, the gap in employment income was almost $13,500, once adjusted for inflation; by 2015, that gap only decreased slightly to $11,362.
Overall, the balance of incomes did see some improvement. Roughly one-third of all households claimed that both partners made fairly equal earnings, in comparison to only one-fifth a decade ago.
And 17.3 per cent of opposite-sex couples claimed the woman was earning substantially more than her male partner.
Same-sex couples doing better
The census reveals that while same-sex couples had higher incomes than heterosexual couples, the gender gap persists here too: male couples earned a median income of $100,707 in 2015, compared to $92,857 for their female counterparts.
This trend continues among lower-income same-sex couples as well: The median income was $31,192 in lower-income male relationships and $30,942 in female partnerships, compared to $24,969 for lower-income opposite-sex couples.
Stay-at-home dads on the rise
Shifting social norms has evidently been yielding big changes in how Canadians live over the past decade, with more single-parent families, and more one-person households than ever before. Some highlights:
- While married couples still account for the majority of unions, 21.3 per cent lived in a common-law situation in 2016, up sharply from previous years.
- In years past, stay-at-home dads accounted for less than two per cent of all Canadian families with a stay-at-home parent. By 2016, the proportion had climbed to about one in 10.
- For the first time, people living on their own was the most common type of household, accounting for almost 30 per cent of all households in 2016, surpassing even couples with children (26.5 per cent).
- Childless couples grew in number at a faster rate over the last five years than those with at least one child. The latter group represented 51 per cent of the population in 2016.
- The number of young adults between the ages of 20 and 34 living with at least one parent continues to rise, reaching an all-time high of seven per cent in 2016.
- Single-parent families are becoming more frequent, and the children in those situations are increasingly living with their dads. The proportion of children who were living with just their father climbed by 34.5 per cent between 2001 and 2016, while those living with just their mother increased by only 4.8 per cent.
- Nine per cent of those children with a single parent lived in low-income households. For those living with their mother, the low-income rate was 42 per cent, compared to 25.5 per cent for those living with their father.
The census data collected last year has also shed a lot of light on household saving trends. More data is expected to be released this November.