The average Canadian pulled in a salary just shy of $48,000, according to newly-released survey results from Statistics Canada.
If those numbers can be compared to the country's most-recent census data, which they almost certainly cannot, it suggests the median income for Canadians with full-time jobs has increased by nearly $7,000 a year since 2005.
The latest batch of results from Canada’s questionable National Household Survey was released on Wednesday, painting a generally rosy picture of Canada's personal income situation.
According to the latest survey results, the country's median total income for those who work full-time jobs is $47,868. That number is up from $41,401 identified in the 2006 nation census.
And while that apparent increase could be seen as cause for celebration, it also underlines the problems with the newly-released statistics.
The 2006 numbers were compiled through a mandatory census, which was considered much more reliable than the voluntary survey now used by Statistics Canada.
[ Related: NHS: what Canadians earned and where they lived ]
The release of the National Household Survey results has come amid questions and controversy, as agencies that relied on census results and the public alike cast doubt on the data gathered through a voluntary poll.
Details released on Canada's aboriginal population were all but dismissed after it was revealed that the survey was not completed, or interrupted, in entire regions of the country.
This most recent release, on income breakdown and home ownership, was delayed by a month after an "issue with data processing" was discovered days before its scheduled release in August.
A note attached to the NHS data states that comparisons between the former census and current survey are troublesome. " Moreover, the NHS estimates are derived from a voluntary survey and are therefore subject to potentially higher non‑response error than those derived from the 2006 Census long form," the note reads.
If we can set those concerns aside, and dispatch the idea of using these survey results in any official capacity, the NHS paints an as-accurate-as-available picture of Canada's current income breakdown.
It found that over 95 per cent of Canadians above the age of 15 receive some sort of income. The median income for everyone, from full-time adult workers to teens with part-time jobs, was $29,900 in 2010.
And while 13 per cent of Canadians relied entirely on non-employment income, such as government transfers and investment income, 87.6 per cent of the country's total income came from employment sources, be they private wages or earning from self-employment.
That was the key focus of the NHS income composition numbers, which highlighted the areas of Canada where employment income was the highest.
The areas that were found to have the highest level of employment income were Alberta and the territories. In Alberta, employment income accounted for 81.3 per cent of total income, while the number was higher in Yukon (81.8 per cent), Nunavut (84.3) and the Northwest Territories (87.8).
The provinces with the lowest employment income were British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, where respectively 73.7 per cent and 68.6 per cent of income came from employment earnings.
Not surprisingly, a family's reliance on employment income came down to its composition.
Two-parent families with children under six years of age tended to have the highest level of employment income, at 95.4 per cent, while lone-parent families relied more heavily on other income sources.
For a male lone-parent family with children under 6, 85.8 per cent of their total income came from employment, while the number dipped to 65.2 per cent for female lone-parent families.
Here were the median employment incomes for those family types:
- Two-parent families: $75,600
- Male lone-parent: $43,300
- Female lone-parent: $21,200
Interestingly, the 2006 census results suggested the median employment income of two-parent families was $ 75,997, while male lone-parents earned $47,943 and female lone-parents earned $30,958.
What that means in relation to the trend of single-parent family incomes, however, is suspect. The results of the National Household Survey should be taken with a grain of salt, especially when compared to the previous census.
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