A new report from Statistics Canada has found that incomes for the highest earners grew at a faster pace than everyone else’s in 2019.
The data, published on Friday, shows that Canadians in the top one per cent made an average of $513,700 in 2019, compared to $505,900 in 2018. That represents a 1.8 per cent growth in income.
But for those who make less than $37,200 and are at the bottom 50 per cent of earners, average income only rose 0.8 per cent, from $18,200 to $18,400.
There was little change for those in the 51st to 90th income percentiles, who made $61,000 on average in 2019.
Incomes grew at an even faster pace for those at the very top of the income distribution. The top 0.1 per cent saw their average income rise 5.5 per cent, from $1,701,900 to $1,774,500. Meanwhile, the average income for the top 0.01 per cent grew from $5,734,000 to $6,411,800, an increase of 13.9 per cent.
StatCan says the income growth for high earners was largely driven by dividend income. While employment income for the top one per cent only grew by 0.5 per cent, their dividend income grew 10.5 per cent. Dividend incomes for the top 0.1 per cent and 0.01 per cent grew by 18.9 per cent and 34.8 per cent, respectively.
While the highest income brackets continue to be dominated by men, StatCan found that more women have been entering the top one per cent. The number of women in the top one per cent grew 3.2 per cent in 2019. As a result, women make up 24.7 per cent of the top one per cent of earners, compared to 24.3 per cent in the previous year.However, even within the top one per cent, StatCan says women continue to have lower average income than men.
The report also found that in the resource-rich provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta and Saskatchewan, the number of earners in the top one per cent fell in 2019. StatCan says this was driven by declining oil prices at the time. Meanwhile. the number of Canadians at the top one per cent increased in Ontario, B.C. and Quebec.