Women now make up more than one quarter of Canada’s 1%, in terms of income, according to new data from Statistics Canada.
The national statistical agency reported that women comprised 25.4% of the top 1% of taxpayers in 2020 (earning at least $253,900), up from 24.7% in 2019.
Women also gained ground in the top 0.1% of taxpayers (incomes over $789,200), accounting for 18.8% of taxpayers in the category, up from 18.0% in 2019.
These improvements came against the backdrop of the onset of the pandemic in 2020, which saw incomes rise overall (average income increased 5.5% to $54,200) — thanks largely to unprecedented fiscal supports to offset the impact of the pandemic on economic activity.
However, high earners saw their incomes decline in 2020, as the ensuing turmoil in financial markets had a larger impact on their income than the government wage supports.
StatsCan reported that average income for the top 1% declined to $512,000 in 2020, a decrease of 1.1%.
In particular, high-earning groups saw their incomes hit by hefty declines in dividend income, the agency said.
For the top 1%, dividend income dropped by an average $10,500 to $77,300 in 2020.
“The drop in dividends was even larger for filers in the top 0.1%, falling by $82,600 to $348,600, and the top 0.01%, dropping by $592,900 to $1,543,400,” StatsCan noted.
High-earning women fared somewhat better than high-earning men, with average income for women in the top 1% declining by 0.6% in 2020, compared with a 1.0% drop for men, the report said.
For women, wage and salary income rose by $2,600 in 2020, whereas it declined by $2,500 for men, StatsCan reported.
Women also reported higher average dividend income than men — $78,500 for women and $76,900 for men.
While the incomes of high-earning women held up better in 2020, they continue to lag men within the top 1%.
Average income for women in the category was $451,100 in 2020, compared with $532,700 for men.