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Earnings and Incomes of Canadians Over the Past Quarter Century, 2006 Census: Family earnings

Median family earnings on the upswing

In 2006, an estimated 7.1 million economic families with earnings out of 8.8 million economic families had at least one partner, or parent, aged between 15 and 64, a 7.4% increase from 2001. The analysis focuses on couple families, with and without children, as well as on lone-parent families.

The median earnings of these working families increased 0.6% between 2000 and 2005, to $63,715. This follows two decades of modest increases. Between 1980 and 2000, median family earnings increased 8.6%. Earnings increases were greater for families than for individuals mainly due to the increasing participation of female partners in the labour market.

Median earnings growth between 2000 and 2005 varied by family type. Working couples with children had the highest median earnings of all family types in 2005, an estimated $75,997, up 4.2% from 2000. During the same period, median earnings for couples with no children decreased 2.7%, to $58,869.

For lone-parent families headed by women, median earnings rose 4.9%, to $30,598. Their male counterparts had median earnings of $47,943, a gain of only 1.8%.

Over the long term between 1980 and 2005, median earnings rose for all family types, except for lone-parent families headed by men, who recorded a decline of 8.5%. Median earnings for couples with children increased 20.6% during this 25-year period, while median earnings for couples with no children increased just 5.1%.

Table 9
Median earnings, in 2005 constant dollars, of economic families by family type, Canada, 1980 to 2005

The long-term increase in family earnings among couples with children is associated with rising earnings of the female partners. Since 1980, the earnings of male partners have fallen slightly, from $46,652 in 1980 to $44,150 in 2005. When earnings of the male and female partners are combined, the median earnings of couples rose from $57,334 to $68,341 over the same period (up 19.2%); the difference is due to the increased earnings of the female partners, which rose from $3,633 in 1980 to $20,025 in 2005. This more than five-fold increase for female partners is due to both increasing employment rates and greater numbers of hours worked.

Figure 2
Median earnings, in 2005 constant dollars, of male and female couples with children, Canada, 1980 to 2005

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