The Threshold To Being One of Canada’s Wealthiest Households Has Been Falling

Hoping to win the title of being one of Canada’s highest-earning households? It’s an easier hurdle to clear than it used to be — though let’s be honest, it’s still difficult to cross. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data shows the results of 2019 tax filings. The threshold for being a top-earning household made a small annual increase. It’s still significantly lower than its 2015 peak though.

Canada’s One Percent Has A Household Income of At Least $250k

The entry ticket to being a part of the one percent made a modest increase. The income threshold increased to $250,300 in 2019, up 2.2% higher than a year before. This is an increase of just 6.1% over the past 5 years prior. Modest gains for an income that just qualifies for a mortgage in some cities. 

The Top Ten Percent of Canada’s One Percent Earn At Least $790k

Being a high-income earner amongst high-income earners is easier than it used to be. The threshold to be in the top 0.10% of household income reached $790,100 in 2019, up 1.8% from the previous year. It might have climbed from a year before, but it’s 4.4% lower than it was five years prior. The top ten percent of the one percent is an easier club to enter than it used to be.

Canadian Household Income Threshold To Be Top Earners

The minimum amount of annual income a household needs to earn to be considered a top income earner in Canada.

Source: Stat Can; Better Dwelling.

It Takes An Annual Income of $3 Million To Be In The 0.01%

The hurdle to becoming the one percent of the one percent was easier than it used to be. It’s still an incredibly high barrier to get through though. The threshold reached $2,973,200 in 2019, up 7.1% from a year before. Despite the uptick, this is still 18.2% lower than it was 5 years prior. Falling $662,800 over that period is a little relief for those looking for the title.

At first glance, it might be easy to see that number and think the rich are earning less. Probably not the case. This issue is more likely attributed to Canada’s population boom.

Starting in 2016, Canada’s population began a sharp uptick in growth.  Since the majority of immigrants earn modest incomes, it averages down the threshold. The expansion of the working and middle classes mean more one percenters. This naturally increases the range of incomes on the high end. Canada has more rich people, but the working classes are expanding much faster.


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  • GTA Landlord 3 weeks ago

    An interesting explanation that makes a lot of sense. Read the same data in the news and they explained just what you said people would assume — incomes fell. Workers added to the income pool are dilutive.

  • Paul Martin 3 weeks ago

    Income is meaningless. It is the net assets excluding principal residence and personal items that counts. A lot of people with high net with do not have high income. They do not need it. They have no personal debt and they have flexibility in how they get cash. For example, a capital gain in a corporation on corporate stock portfolio allows to extract cash tax free. No income to report. Just one of many examples…

    • David Chan 3 weeks ago

      If you’re going to tell someone their data is meaningless, you should probably make sure you understand what the stat says.

      Canada’s “income” stats aren’t wages but include the net realization of wealth including government transfers and tax rebates. You’re thinking of market income, which is a completely different income concept.

  • D 3 weeks ago

    Canada has no software industry, no semiconductor foundry, designer, equipment industry, no technological, electronic, manufacturing hardware industry. Canada’s established industry are government supported duopolies which lead to increased prices and poorer Canadians.

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