Canadian Households See Net-Worth Growth Slow, Decline For Seniors

Most Canadian households saw their net-worth grow last year, but some have begun to see it roll back. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data published this week, shows the median household net-worth grew in 2019. The growth was much slower than observed in the previous data release though. This was led by a decline in net-worth for the median senior, who had been growing at the fastest pace prior.

Canadian Households Saw The Median Net-Worth Slow In Growth

The median net-worth of households advanced, but at a much slower pace than seen in previous years. The median household net-worth reached $329,900 in 2019, up 5.57% from the previous survey in 2016. The survey frequency is irregular, so there’s no direct period of comparison. However, from 2012 to 2016, the median net-worth advanced 14.72% higher. Not a directly comparable time-frame, but it’s clear growth is slower in the most recent numbers.

Canadian Household Median Net-Worth

The dollar amount of the median household’s 2019 net-worth by age of household head.
Source: Stat Can, Better Dwelling.

Under 35 Households See The Biggest Gains In Net-Worth

Slow growth wasn’t observed everywhere, with young households seeing the biggest increases. Households led by someone 35 or under saw their median net-worth reach $48,800 in 2019, up 31.18% from 2016. It’s still a tiny number, but the growth was the largest of any group. Although in 2016, this would have been enough to create a substantial downpayment on a home, that’s not the case these days. 

Canadian Household Median Net-Worth Change

The percent change of the median household’s net-worth between 2016 and 2019, by age of household head.
Source: Stat Can, Better Dwelling.

Households led by people aged 45 to 54 saw the second fastest growth. The median net-worth for this age group reached $521,100 in 2019, up 13.85% from 2016. This is more than twice the general growth, which needless to say is very fast.  

Canadian Households Led By Seniors See Net-Worth Decline

Not everyone’s net-worth was rising though, with senior-led households seeing declines. Households led by people aged 55 to 64 had a median net-worth of $690,000 in 2019, down 2.71% from 2016. Households led by people aged 65 and over had a median net-worth of $543,200, down 0.82% over the same period. Previously these had been the two demographics to see the fastest growth.

The data in this survey is pre-pandemic, so things are going to be much more volatile at the next measure. It does however, provide a baseline to observe how net-worth was changing before the pandemic. The recent economy was billed as one of the best in years, but the growth of household wealth has been slowing. Seniors, which saw the fastest growth from 1999 to 2016, are actually seeing their net-worth decline now. 

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  • Oldguy 2 years ago

    Worth noting that seniors got none of the free cash being thrown around by Trudeau and their savings are eroding with negative real interest rates. It their collective memories are not gone, they may wake up in time for the next election. One can only hope.

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