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

This section looks at total income, also referred to as before-tax income in this text. The total income of an economic family is the income received by all members of that family aged 15 and over, from all sources, during the calendar year preceding the census. The sources include earnings, investment income, retirement income and government transfer payments, such as child benefits, Old Age Security Pension and Canada/Quebec Pension Plans (CPP/QPP). All figures are expressed as 2005 constant dollars to aid comparisons across time. This is referred to in the report as '2005 constant dollars.'

Economic family counts and counts of persons not in economic families refer to those enumerated on May 16, 2006. However, all income results are for the calendar year preceding the census, that is, 2005. Results for 2005 are frequently compared to earlier census findings for 2000, 1990 or 1980.

For some family types, income is nearly synonymous with earnings, since employment is the source of the vast majority of their income. Earnings comprise more than 85% of the income of non-senior families (with and without children), men living on their own and male lone parents. Earnings are slightly less important for non-senior women living on their own. For these family types, the proportion of income coming from different sources has remained quite stable.

For other family types, notably senior couples and single mother families as well as persons not in families,1 the sources of income have been changing in recent decades.

This section first reviews basic income trends nationally and across provinces and territories and for all types of families, then examines the sources of income for seniors, lone-parent mothers and recent immigrants in more detail. A review of the low income situation follows, highlighting new information on after-tax income available for the first time, from the 2006 Census. Highlights for median family incomes of census metropolitan areas conclude the section.

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