2011 NATIONAL HOUSEHOLD SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS : Factsheet 6

Incomes of Ontarians

This factsheet looks at the National Household Survey (NHS) data released by Statistics Canada on the incomes of families and Ontarians aged 15 and over. Results are not compared to 2006 Census data because of comparability issues1.

Main Sources of Income for Ontarians

  • In 2010, market income accounted for 87.7% of the total income of Ontarians aged 15 and over. Market income is comprised of employment earnings, investment, retirement and other private income.
  • Ontario’s share of total income from employment of 74.8% was on par with the national average of 74.7%, while Alberta (81.3%), Saskatchewan (75.6%) and Manitoba (75.4%) were above the national average.
  • Other private sources of income, such as investment income (4.2%), retirement income (7.0%) and other private income (1.7%), combined accounted for 12.9% of total income of Ontarians.
  • Government transfers accounted for the remaining 12.3%.
  • Canada/Quebec Pension Plan (CPP/QPP), Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) accounted for about half of all income received from government sources. Employment insurance (EI), child benefits and other government transfers (including social assistance, workers’ compensation and refundable tax credits) accounted for the other half.
  • Families had a higher share of income from market sources (88.7%) than person not in families (82.2%, that is, persons living alone or with non-relatives). 
  • For couple families with children under 6 years of age, EI and child benefits alone accounted for 71.4% of government transfers. Conversely, for seniors not in families, 86.2% of government transfers came from CPP and OAS/GIS. Government transfers accounted for 44.3% of seniors’ income.
  • In 2010, Ontarians paid 16.6% of total income in income taxes, leaving 83.4% of their income as after-tax income.

Median After-tax Income of Families

  • Alberta, at $80,300, had the highest median after-tax family income among the provinces in 2010. Ontario’s median after-tax family income of $71,100 was the second highest, followed by Saskatchewan at $68,000 and British Columbia at $67,900. All other provinces were below the Canadian median of $67,000.
  • Among the major family groups, couples with children ($87,800) had the highest median after-tax income. 
  • Lone-parent families headed by a male ($53,900) had higher median incomes than female lone-parents ($42,600).
  • For persons not in economic families, the median after-tax income was $27,300.

High-income Earners

  • In 2010, the top 10% of Canadians had total income of more than $80,400. To be in the top 5%, Canadians needed to have a total income of $102,300, and to be in the top 1% required $191,100.
  • A high share (72.9%) of the top 1% had attained a university degree compared to 23.4% of all Ontarians aged 15 and over.
  • Nearly 82% of the top 1% who worked in 2010, were employed in the four occupation groups: management; business, finance and administration; health; and education, law and social, community and government services.

Population in Low-income²

  • Oshawa Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) had the lowest low-income rate (10.7%) among Ontario CMAs, while Windsor had the highest (18.3%) in 2010.
  • According to the NHS, there were 159 low-income neighbourhoods (or census tracts) in Ontario in 2010 out of a total of 2,342. Neighbourhoods were categorized as low-income if 30% or more of the population was in low-income.
  • Of these, 45 neighbourhoods were classified as very low-income neighbourhoods, meaning that 40% of the population had low-income.
  • Six CMAs across Canada, of which two were in Ontario (Toronto and Windsor), together accounted for 81% of the low-income population living in very low-income neighbourhoods.
  • Persons in lone-parent families, visible minorities, immigrants and persons living alone were more prevalent in low and very low-income neighbourhoods.

1When comparing estimates over time, two key differences should be considered: 1. The NHS is a voluntary survey and may be subject to potentially higher non-response error than the 2006 Census. 2. The two sources represent different populations  ̶  the Census includes residents in collective dwellings and persons living abroad, but the NHS excludes them.

2According to Statistics Canada, low-income estimates from the 2011 NHS are not comparable with the earlier census-based estimates.

Contact Edisa Kozo (416) 326-7062

Office of Economic Policy
Labour and Demographic Analysis Branch