The controversial National Household Survey doesn’t have to be as perfect as the former Census to tell us something we already knew: Men in power positions make up most of the 1 per cent in Canada.
The data released Wednesday says about 80 per cent of Canadians in the top income bracket are men, most of whom are middle aged, married or shacked up and someone’s boss.
The 1 per cent include people making more than $191,000 annually, which Statistics Canada says is nearly seven times the national individual median income of $27,800, based on voluntary survey data from 2010.
People earning more than $102,300 were in the top 5 per cent of income generators, while 10 per cent made more than $80,400. The median family income in Canada is $76,000.
The survey results are troubling for those fighting for greater income equality across Canada and irritating to so many struggling to make ends meet.
“Ironically, 1 per cent also defines what a typical Canadian worker has received each year since the last census” in 2006, adjusting for inflation, says United Steelworkers economist Erin Weir.
It will also be a downer for advocates of equal pay for women in the workplace. Still, it demonstrates the reality that men still lead most of the companies and organizations across the country, even though women are making strides.
More school = More money
Another simple equation from the survey results: the more education someone has the higher their salary.
StatsCan says 67 per cent of the top 1 per cent had a university education, compared to about 55 per cent of the top 5 per cent and 50 per cent of the top 10 per cent.
Those with a university degree also had the highest median incomes; $105,800 for the top 10 per cent, $137,300 for the top 5 per cent and $271,600 in the top 1 per cent.
Most of post-secondary graduates in the top 1 per cent studied in three major fields of study: business, health, and engineering, the report says, or about 55 per cent. Another roughly 26 per cent studied in dental, medical and veterinary residency programs, and about 7.4 per cent went to law school.
It pays to be self-employed
Another secret to being in the 1 per cent is becoming an entrepreneur. The survey says people in the top income bracket earned 7.6 per cent of their total income from self-employment, compared to 4.5 per cent or less for everyone else.
While just under 10 per cent of Canadians reported self-employment incomes in 2011, the entrepreneurial hotbed appears to be Saskatchewan. More than 15 per cent of its population, which includes roles from farmers to small business owners, reported self-employment income in 2011, the highest rate in Canada. B.C., Alberta and Manitoba were also self-starter populations with rates around 10-to-11 per cent.
About 70 per cent of Canadians earned their income from some kind of job – where self-employed or working for a company or organization, the data shows. Meantime, investment income and retirement savings made up nearly 13 per cent of income reported by Canadians by 2010.
“Investment income is a relatively more important source of income for high-income Canadians and seniors,” the study says, adding that about 57 per cent of all investment income came from the richest Canadians.