BUSINESS

Income Inequality Widening, Canadians Say In New Poll

05/27/2013 01:03 EDT | Updated 05/27/2013 01:47 EDT
Getty Images

Canadians are more likely than Americans to say that income inequality is growing in their home country, new research suggests.

A study from the Pew Research Center finds that 76 per cent of Canadians believe income inequality is worsening at home, compared to 66 per cent of Americans.

The study found people in almost all developed countries are growing more concerned about rising income inequality and its effects on the economy.

A large majority of people in all 14 developed countries surveyed said inequality was worsening, with fewer than seven per cent in any of the countries saying inequality is shrinking.

Overall, 74 per cent of the people polled in the developed countries said the economic system favours the wealthy and is unfair to most people, the study reported.

Canadians were among the least likely people to say the economic system is rigged against them, although even in Canada 58 per cent of the population felt this way.

In the U.S., a similar number — 61 per cent — said the economic system is stacked against them. The only developed country in the survey where a majority didn’t feel this way was Australia (44 per cent).

Check out the countries where people most want to fight the power. If you've been following the economic news out of Europe, the top countries on the list shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

Story continues below slideshow

Who Wants To Fight The Power?

Inequality in Canada is worse than the average among the developed and developing economies of the OECD, but whether or not the problem is currently worsening is a more complicated matter.

Data from StatsCan would indicate that Canada experienced a significant leap in income inequality in the 1990s, but since then the degree of inequality has wavered up and down, and has been largely unpredictable.

Updated data from the OECD last week suggests inequality continues to hover at the elevated levels seen since the 1990s, the Globe and Mail reported.

And many economists and observers argue Canada is experiencing the sorts of economic effects seen in countries where inequality is growing, regardless of the actual degree of inequality.

Experts point to growing economic segregation in Canadian cities as one sign Canada is becoming more economically unequal, and warn of social consequences such as ghettoization and a narrowing middle class.

A recent study from TD noted that, while overall income inequality has been stable in Canada in recent years, most of the gains from economic growth are accruing to the wealthiest few Canadians.