Median family income continues ascent between 2005 and 2006

OTTAWA — The median family income rose 2.1 per cent between 2005 and 2006, largely the result of strong economic growth fostered by employment gains.

OTTAWA — The median family income rose 2.1 per cent between 2005 and 2006, largely the result of strong economic growth fostered by employment gains.

That’s on top of an 11.1 per cent increase the Census recorded in the pre-tax income median between 1980 and 2005.

Statistics Canada says government transfers also increased, leading to a similar increase in after-tax family income.

Families earned an after-tax median income of $58,300 in 2006, the third straight annual increase.

The agency says most family types benefited, including senior families — those in which the main income earner was aged 65 and over — and younger, working-aged families.

Senior families had a median after-tax income of $42,400, up 2.9 per cent, while working-aged families had a median of $62,000, a 1.8 per cent gain.

Both senior and working-aged family median after-tax income increased by roughly 18 per cent since 1996.

Persons living alone, or “unattached individuals,” had a median after-tax income of $22,800 in 2006, up 4.6 per cent from 2005.

For the third consecutive year, Alberta families had the highest median after-tax income, at $70,500. They were followed by families in Ontario and British Columbia.

StatsCan says the incidence of low income remained relatively stable in 2006. About 633,000 families were below the after-tax low-income cutoff, seven per cent of the total.

About 760,000 children aged 18 and under — 11.3 per cent of the total — lived in low-income families.

Working-aged families whose main income earner was aged 64 or less had a median market income of $66,800, up 1.8 per cent from 2005.

Market income for both senior families and lone-parent families headed by women were unchanged in 2006 after significant gains over 10 years.

The median is the point at which half of all families have higher income than the rest, and half have less. Statistics Canada makes income estimates in constant 2006 dollars to factor in inflation and allow for comparisons across time in real terms.

The agency defines market income as the sum of earnings from employment and net self-employment income, investment income (excluding capital gains), and private retirement income.

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