Shelter accounts for one-third of Albertan households spending.
Graph from Statistics Canada

Alberta households spent the most on average in Canada in 2019

Shelter costs the biggest expense followed by transportation and food

Alberta households led the nation in spending an average of nearly $80,000 on goods and services in 2019, says Statistics Canada.

The national average for household spending was $68,980, up 7.9 per cent from 2017. (Spending statistics were not collected in 2018). Albertans’ spending went up 8.4 per cent from 2017 to $79,849, says the statistics compiled by ATB Financial in its The Owl economic report.

Spending was next highest in B.C. ($77,511). Spending was the lowest in PEI ($56,662) followed by New Brunswick ($58,191).

Alberta households spent an average of $79,849 on goods and services in 2019, up 8.4 per cent from 2017 (spending statistics were not collected for 2018). The national average was $68,980, up 7.9 per cent from 2017.

The three largest categories — shelter, transportation and food — accounted for 62 per cent of household spending in Alberta in 2019.

Shelter is the largest category at 28.3 per cent ($22,591) of total household spending in 2019.

Most shelter spending in 2019 was for a principal residence at 91 per cent ($20,569). The share of total shelter spending was 5.4 per cent ($1,110) for other properties and four per cent ($912) for accommodation away from home.

Alberta households spent an average of $15,632 on transportation in 2019 or about 19.6 per cent of their total outlay on goods and services.

Households spent an average of $13,396 on private transportation (which includes the purchasing, leasing or renting of cars, trucks and vans plus their operation costs) compared to $1,696 on public transportation. Air travel was the largest component of public transportation at $1,171.

Average spending on city or commuter bus, subway, streetcar and commuter train options came in at $194. (It is important to note here that these are averages across all households whether or not they have a car or use public transit rather than the actual costs of the different options.)

Alberta households spent an average of $11,322 on food in 2019. Just under a third (29.4 per cent) of this was for food purchased from restaurants ($3,334). Average spending for food purchased from stores was $7,988 (70.6 per cent). The food category does not include spending on alcohol.

Restaurants accounted for about a third of spending on food in Alberta in 2019.

The numbers are expected to be much different for 2020 because of the global pandemic.

Statistics Canada agrees noted in a recent report on household spending that “the pandemic has changed almost every facet of our lives, including how we spend our money.”

“We know, for example, that spending on air travel is down due to travel restrictions,” says ATB. “It will, however, be some time before we have all the data we need to fully understand just how spending changed during the pandemic.”



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