August 2, 2022

Weekly EconMinute—Individual after-tax incomes

In this week’s EconMinute, we’re talking about Alberta’s changing distribution of after-tax individual incomes.

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On July 13, Statistics Canada released census data on Canada’s income profile for 2020.

The data reveals that, since the last census profiled incomes for 2015, a smaller number and share of Albertan adults were earning after-tax income at both the lowest and the higher ends of the income distribution spectrum.

The decline in Canada’s low-income earners in 2020 was largely the result of government COVID support payments bolstering incomes to higher levels than they were in 2019. However, low commodity prices from 2015-2020 disproportionately impacted Alberta’s higher income earners, whereas the rest of Canada saw a modest increase in the number and share of high-income earners.

  • From 2015 – 2020, the share of Albertans earning below $20,000 after-tax fell by 4.4%. In the rest of Canada, there was an 8.8% decline.
  • Alberta’s share of people earning more than $80,000 fell from 17.3% to 14.7% (-2.6%). That represents a decline of 58,450 people, even though Alberta’s population grew by 5.9% over that period.
  • The rest of Canada saw a 1.4% increase in the share of people earning more than $80,000, or 508,375 more people.
  • While its median household after-tax income fell by 4.8% between 2015 and 2020, Alberta remains in the top spot among provinces, at $83,000. That’s 12.0% above the Canadian average and 4.2% higher than the second-highest earning province.

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