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.
28 thoughts on “The Canadian Middle Class – Where Do You Fit In?”
So if the lower middle class earnings $18,718 to $23,356, what do they consider someone who earns $13,000 per year?
poor low income
I consider him/her as someone who is struggling for living correctly
Lower class. no longer in the middle class
students? part time workers? usually full time workers don’t earn 13000 even at minimum wages.
I and many of my fellow seniors are fed up to hear our politicians talk about middle class whenever they open their mouths. we get a monthly OAS/GIS for two at about $ 2000.00 per month or $ 24,000.00 per year. We are in the thousands if not millions of poor Canadians.
What assistance is there from these politicians who extol the middle class .CETA was recently signed and we are told it will benefit the middle class. What about the rest of the population?
I’m at around 62 g’s a year I’m single but I live in Edmonton, so does that make me upper class. I’m curious because I don’t feel wealthy and I could definitely use that rebate cheque
Should have saved more when you were working.. don’t take it out of my pocket now
I’m surprised ! 25 at upper middle class not bad 🙂 , still a ways to go though
youre 100k off on upper middle class in Canada, its 125-225k
Working poor! In Vancouver, you’ll be homeless.
I’m in the middle 20% this makes me surprised, at an income of 34k a year, I find myself struggling to pay off debt. I am still at a negative net worth, but slowly climbing out of it. 🙂
I agree, but these numbers are from 2011 data.
I work 40 hours a week, at minimum wage and I am considered low income. I am dedicated to my job, and I can hardly afford to live in Toronto or go back to school. It’s unfortunate.
are those numbers in the article before or after taxes?
Good question Frank. If it’s before tax, the numbers above are quite simply wrong. Says that they used stats Canada numbers so gross income
Your disposable income is whatever the governments at all 3 levels leave you with. Saw an article that taxes are most people’s largest expenditure and in fact is higher than food plus house expenses.
There are more people living in poverty than you may think. It may not show but really think about it, even some upper middle class are struggeling because cost of living is high at any level because most people live beyond their means. Some people are in debt for life! I must add, with my experience in sales, Canadians are stingy with $ compared to Americans. Bottom line, which ever level you’re at, you’re doing well if your salary exceeds your expenses, if you can set asside some $ and not worry if you can afford a pair of shoes or go on a vacation once a year.
people making less then lower class are considered poverty level, least what I’ve read.
I am on the low side of the Canadian middle class, but I am trying my hardest to come in the middle. It will take a lot more effort, though, and I am ready to put all the effort in. Will you do the same thing?
If combined income is 180,000 approximately, is that upper class in 2020?
What class would 600,000 a year be in
damn, I’m poor
We are above upper middle class with an income of 150k
61 and pushed into retirement by an odd set of circumstances. From what I read here, I am upper middle class??? No way, I feel poor but statistically I am not. These sort of numbers work for someone who lives in a low cost of living isolated town but do not work for anyone living even in a small city.
Tough shit. Work harder.