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Earnings and Incomes of Canadians Over the Past Quarter Century, 2006 Census : Definitions and notes


After-tax income

Refers to total income minus federal, provincial and territorial income taxes paid for calendar year 2005. Total income refers to income from all sources, including employment income, income from government programs, pension income, investment income and any other money income. Federal, provincial and territorial taxes paid refer to taxes on income, after taking into account exemptions, deductions, non-refundable tax credits and the Quebec abatement. These taxes are obtained from the income tax files for persons who allowed access to their income tax data and from direct responses on the questionnaire for others.

After-tax income of the economic family

Refers to the sum of the after-tax income of all members of that family.

Economic family total income

Refers to the sum of the total income of all members of that family.

Earnings or employment income

Refers to the income received by persons 15 years of age and over during calendar year 2005 as wages and salaries, net income from a non-farm unincorporated business and/or professional practice, and/or net farm self-employment income.

Earnings of the economic family

Refers to the sum across all family members of total annual earnings from wages and salaries, plus net self-employment income in the calendar year preceding the census.

Economic family

Refers to a group of two or more persons who live in the same dwelling and are related to each other by blood, marriage, common-law or adoption. A couple may be of opposite or same sex. For 2006, foster children are included.

The economic family and its associated classifications and variables are derived according to the responses to the questions on sex, date of birth, marital status, common-law status, and relationship to Person 1.

Income status after tax

Refers to the position of an economic family or persons not in economic families 15 years of age and over in relation to Statistics Canada's low income after-tax cut-offs.

Income status before tax

Refers to the position of an economic family or a person 15 years of age and over not in an economic family in relation to Statistics Canada's low income before-tax cut-offs.

Other income from government sources

Refers to all transfer payments, excluding those covered as a separate income source (child benefits, Old Age Security Pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement, Canada or Quebec Pension Plan benefits and Employment Insurance benefits) received from federal, provincial, territorial or municipal programs during the calendar year 2005. This source includes social assistance payments received by persons in need, such as mothers with dependent children, persons temporarily or permanently unable to work, elderly individuals, the blind and persons with disabilities. Included are provincial income supplement payments to seniors and provincial payments to help offset accommodation costs. Also included are other transfer payments, such as payments received from training programs sponsored by the federal and provincial governments, veterans' pensions, war veterans' allowance, pensions to widows and dependants of veterans, and workers' compensation. Additionally, refundable provincial tax credits and refunds of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Quebec Sales Tax (QST), Saskatchewan Sales Tax Credit (SSTC) or Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) received in 2005 are included.

Other money income

Refers to regular cash income received during calendar year 2005 and not reported in any of the other ten sources listed on the questionnaire. For example, severance pay and retirement allowances, alimony, child support, periodic support from other persons not in the household, income from abroad (excluding dividends and interest), non-refundable scholarships, bursaries, fellowships and study grants, and artists' project grants are included.

Person not in an economic family

Refers to a person not living in an economic family. This is a person not living with a related person. A person living alone is included in this category.

Recent immigrant

Refers to a person who arrived in the country between two and six years before the census year, thus available to participate in the economy for the full income reference year.

Total income

Refers to the total money income received from the following sources during calendar year 2005 by persons 15 years of age and over:

  • wages and salaries (total)
  • net farm income
  • net non-farm income from unincorporated business and/or professional practice
  • child benefits
  • Old Age Security Pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement
  • benefits from Canada or Quebec Pension Plan
  • benefits from Employment Insurance
  • other income from government sources
  • dividends, interest on bonds, deposits and savings certificates, and other investment income
  • retirement pensions, superannuation and annuities, including those from RRSPs and RRIFs
  • other money income.

Low income before-tax cut-offs (LICO-BT)

Before-tax income levels, differentiated by size of family and area of residence, where families spend 20 percentage points more of their before-tax income than the average family on food, shelter and clothing.

For the 2005 matrix of low income before-tax cut-offs and additional information, please refer to the 2006 Census Dictionary, Catalogue no. 92-566-XWE.

Low income after-tax cut-offs (LICO-AT)

Refers to after-tax income levels, differentiated by size of family and area of residence, where families spend 20 percentage points more of their after-tax income than the average family on food, shelter and clothing.

For the 2005 matrix of low income after-tax cut-offs and additional information, please refer to the 2006 Census Dictionary, Catalogue no. 92-566-XWE.

Senior economic family

Senior economic family is defined, for a couple family, as both partners aged 65 and over. In a lone-parent family, the parent must be aged 65 and over. In other economic families, the age of the reference person determines the classification.


Notes to reader:

Comparability of the 1981 and 1991 classification of economic families with 2001 and 2006 data: According to current standards and definitions for persons belonging to economic families, children in an economic family can be of any marital status. The data for 2000 and 2005 family income in this report reflect this definition, whereas the data for earlier years (1980 and 1990) continue to be based on the earlier criterion that children of the reference person must not be previously married ('never-married children').

Though this change has no impact on the count or composition of economic families, it affects slightly the classifications by economic family structure. Some families considered, since 2001, as 'with children' would have been classified as 'without children' using the earlier rules (and, in the case of lone-parent families, they might have become 'Other economic families'). The following table summarizes the 2006 counts and median 2005 family income according to the two definitions.

Economic family structure by two analytical concepts on children, 2006 Census
Concepts used in the document for economic family structure Counts by the concepts used for Median family income by the concepts used for
2001 and 2006 data 1981 and 1991 data 2000 and 2005 data 1980 and 1990 data
number 2005 constant dollars
All economic families 8,782,350 8,782,350 66,343 66,343
Total couple families 7,314,270 7,314,270 72,265 72,265
Couple families with children 4,061,280 3,958,015 82,943 82,981
Couple families without children 3,252,990 3,356,255 59,834 60,369
Total lone-parent families 1,286,325 1,212,015 39,227 38,980
Female lone-parent families 1,037,425 975,185 36,765 36,446
Male lone-parent families 248,900 236,830 51,974 52,141
Other economic families 181,750 256,060 51,319 48,870

The impact on the median income is slight (less than 1%), except for the 'Other economic families' category which is not used much. The impact on counts is a little larger for lone-parent families and in the couple families with and without children distinction.

Income concept harmonisation: For this analysis and accompanying tables, to harmonise income concepts across the years, an estimate of child tax credits was included in government transfers and as part of total income for 1980 data where persons were entitled. In our previously published data, this was not the case.

Geographical boundaries: Between 2001 and 2006, some census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and their municipalities were restructured. For analytical purposes, the 2006 geographical boundaries of the CMAs and their municipalities were used for the 2001 Census data.

Rounding: Due to the nature of random rounding, counts may vary slightly between different census products, such as the analytical documents, highlight tables, and topic-based tabulations.

To obtain a copy of the maps released, refer to the following link: