Issue 18-51: Canada Income Survey, 2016

March 13, 2018

Median After-tax Income

Families and unattached individuals in British Columbia had a median after-tax income of $56,800 in 2016, slightly below the Canadian average of $57,000. Median-after tax income in B.C. grew by 0.5% in 2016, following growth of 0.9% in 2015. This is faster growth than the Canadian average (+0.4% and -0.4%, respectively).

The income increase in 2016 was mainly explained by an increase of 2.2% in median market income (this includes income from employment, retirement and investments). Additionally, median government transfers went up from $5,300 in 2015 to $5,700 in 2016. This is a significantly lower rise in government transfers than the national average of $800 for the year. A large part of the growth in government transfers was due to increased child care benefits. Median income taxes for British Columbians fell to $5,500 in 2016, down $100 from 2015.

Employment Income

Median employment income for all workers in British Columbia was $31,600 in 2016, up from $31,200 in 2015. Canadian employment income fell from $33,600 to $33,300 in 2016. For workers that worked full-time for the whole year, median employment income in 2016 was $52,500 for British Columbia workers, slightly higher than the national average of $51,700.

Income by Family Type

When looking at the differences in median after-tax income by family type, in British Columbia, elderly families (those in which the highest income earner is 65 years of age or older) had a median after-tax income of $61,900. Unattached seniors had a median after-tax income of $27,600, slightly below the $29,000 registered for other unattached individuals.

British Columbian couples with children had a median after-tax income of $99,000 in 2016, up from $98,600 in 2015. Couples without children had a median after-tax income of $79,600, 6.1% lower than in 2015. Lone-parent families had a much lower median after-tax income at $38,400, 26.6% lower than the $52,300 median after-tax income of lone-parent families in 2015.

Low Income Families

According to the after-tax low income measure (LIM-AT), 12.9% of British Columbians lived in low income in 2016, down from 15.8% in 2015. Provincially, British Columbia (-2.9 percentage points) saw the largest decrease in LIM-AT rates among provinces in 2016. The decrease positioned British Columbia below the Canadian average of 13.0% of people living in low-income. British Columbia had the third lowest LIM-AT rate among provinces in 2016, compared to sixth in 2015.

The largest proportions of British Columbians living in low-income are observed among persons in lone‑parent families (32.9%), and unattached individuals (31.1%). In 2016, 12.8% of seniors lived in low income, the same proportion as those under 18 years. This is a decrease from around 14% of seniors and youth living in low income in 2015.

Looking at family structures, a slightly different picture emerges, with most seniors living in low income being unattached individuals—33.2% of unattached seniors lived in low income, compared to 5.7% of those who belong to economic families (e.g., couples, living with relatives). Similarly, the proportion of children under 18 years of age living in low income was 9.1% for those living with both parents, compared to 42.2% of those in lone-parent families.

Data Source: Statistics Canada