If asked, almost all Canadians would say that they are in the middle class. Is that really true? When looking at the Middle class Where do you fit in?
Before looking at where middle class Canadians are standing these days, it’s important to define wealth. There are two components to wealth, income and net worth. Income is easy; that’s how much is earned during the year. Net worth is the amount that would be left if all assets were sold and all debts paid.
It’s common for a younger adult to have a high income but little net worth. If a home has been purchased, there is probably a large mortgage. A retired landowner, on the other hand, might have only a small yearly pension, but own acres of land worth millions of dollars if sold to a property developer.
It’s certainly no surprise, but average net worth varies depending on where one lives. Those who live in Canada’s largest cities are more likely to have an average net worth that is close to the national averages for the middle class. Residents of Montreal and Quebec City, however, are more likely to have a net worth below the national average. For Quebec, this can be explained by the higher percentage of younger households, composed of Canadians just beginning their careers.
What is a Middle Class Income?
The following 2013 income estimates are from MoneySense, based upon 2011 data from Statistics Canada. They divided the data into five equal groups, with the highest 20% being considered wealthy and the bottom 20% to be below the middle class income requirements. Wealthy residents of Calgary had the highest incomes, earning a whopping average of $362,760 per year.
Middle Class Single People
- The lower-middle class incomes range from $18,718 to $23,356.
- The middle 20% incomes range from $23,357 to $36,859.
- The upper-middle class incomes range from $36,860 to $55,498.
Middle Class Families of at Least Two People
- The lower-middle class incomes range from $38,755 to $61,928.
- The middle 20% incomes range from $61,929 to $88,074.
- The upper-middle class incomes range from $88,075 to $125,009.
Average Canadians are Better Off
In the three year period of 2006-2009, the average Canadian household saw their wealth decline by an average of 10%. However, since 2009, average Canadians have seen their household net worth increase by approximately $75,000, or about 15%. That’s excellent news, although there is a huge disparity geographically.
- The average net worth of a Canadian household is $442,130.
- The average net worth in New Brunswick is $196,240.
- The highest average net worth is in B.C. and is $591,047.
At least half of the average Canadian’s net worth resides in their home, which puts net worth at risk if the real estate market tanks. However, Canadians are doing very, very well and living good lives when compared to many others. However one fits into the technical definition of middle class, it’s a great time to be Canadian.