Family walking in the country
© Cathy Yeulet / 123RF

After two years of stagnation, median household income rose in 2017, according to new data Statistics Canada released Tuesday.

StatsCan reports that median after-tax income of Canadian households rose by 3.3% in 2017 to $59,800. The increase, which follows two years of no growth, was due to a combination of higher wages and an increase in child benefits, the agency says.

Excluding senior families, median market income (which includes employment income, private pensions, and investment income) rose by 2.7% in 2017 to $92,400, primarily due to a strong job market, StatsCan says. At the same time, the implementation of the new Canada Child Benefit (CCB) in 2017 boosted median after-tax income for families by $1,500, it notes.

StatsCan says that the incomes of senior families (where the highest earner is aged 65 or older) also rose in 2017, increasing by $2,500 to $61,200. These incomes have risen steadily since 2012, it reports, due to rising salary income and private retirement income.

Looking at income inequality, StatsCan reports that the top 10% of income earners accounted for 23.3% of total after-tax income in Canada in 2017, while the bottom 40% of the population only accounted for 20.4% of total income.

Finally, the agency reports that the proportion of Canadians living below the official poverty line declined to 9.5% of the population in 2017, down from 10.6% in 2016. There were 238,000 seniors living in poverty in 2017, it says, down from 284,000 in 2016.