A couple of weeks ago, someone asked on Twitter which province in Canada was the highest earning. So I consulted Statistics Canada and graphed median income and average income data for 2018:
As you can see, Alberta leads the country in both measures.
Then someone else asked about income distribution between provinces.
I couldn’t find anything that granular, so I had to go back to the 2016 census. Even though the data is nearly 5 years old now, I think it still provides an interesting snapshot of Alberta’s income distribution compared to the rest of the country.
Most provinces in this chart show significant numbers of their population in the highest income group. Naturally, the provinces with the highest population have the highest number of people in the highest income group.
Let’s isolate the 4 provinces with the largest populations—BC, Alberta, Ontario, and Québec—so we can have a closer look.
There. That’s a bit better.
So, in this graph, we can more clearly see that all four of these provinces have significant numbers of people in the $100,000 or greater income group.
Québec’s is larger than 3 other income groups. BC’s is larger than 5 income groups. Ontario’s is larger than 6 income groups. Alberta’s is actually larger than all the other income groups in the province.
But what about as a percentage of total income earners?
Once again, Alberta outshines the rest.
The average of all the provinces for the proportion of the income-receiving population that makes over $100,000 is 7.83%. PEI has the lowest proportion of people (3.86%) in the top income group, and Alberta has the highest at 15.15%. The next highest was Newfoundland and Labrador at 10.25%.
Not only that, but Alberta’s lowest income group—those making under $5,000 a year—also has the smallest proportion of people in it, compared to the other provinces.
In BC and Ontario, for example, their lowest income groups also have the highest number of people in them. Québec’s is second highest.
The averages for all the provinces is 13.34% are in the under $5,000 a year income group. BC has the highest, at 15.89%, and Alberta’s is at 11.07%.
As well, if you add up the number of people in each province who fit in the 6 lowest income groups (up to $50,000), Alberta has the lowest proportion: 56.36%, compared to the average of 67.69% among all 10 provinces. The highest was PEI, at 75.87%.
So, basically, however you look at it, Albertans are making more money than people in other provinces.
And given that more than half of the federal revenue that comes from within Alberta is personal income tax, these high incomes are one reason that Albertans “send more money” to Ottawa than any other province.
All that being said, there are still over 1.3 million people in Alberta making under $50,000. About 950,000 make under minimum wage. And nearly half a million making under $10,000 a year.
So not everyone is enjoying the good life.