Insights & Analysis

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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In the spirit of truth, reconciliation, and respect, we honour and acknowledge the lands upon which we live and work as guests, including the traditional territories of the First Nations in Treaties 6, 7, and 8 and the citizens of the Metis Nation of Alberta. We thank the First Peoples of this land, which we now call Alberta, for their generations of stewardship of the land, and we seek to walk together in the spirit of truth and reconciliation to build a shared future for all in Alberta.

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