Alberta Income Inequality Is Worse Than In The U.S.

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In Alberta, the rich keep getting richer, but where does that leave the rest of us?

StatsCan’s new survey of top income taxfilers shows Alberta leads the country when it comes to unequal income. In fact, Alberta is the only province in Canada where the top 10 per cent of the population take home more than half the income. In 2012, StatsCan's numbers show Alberta's top 10 per cent of earners took home 50.4 per cent of all income.

And if that sounds bad, consider this:

Alberta is now the only province in Canada more unequal than the United States. The top 10 per cent of earners south of the border raked in 48.2 per cent of all income in 2012.

Perhaps this shouldn't come as a surprise. We recently reported that Alberta is projected to have the second largest economy in Canada within three years, surpassing Quebec despite having half the population.

StatsCan's numbers also show Alberta has overtaken Quebec in terms of top earners. In 2012, Alberta had 502,000 earners in the top 10 per cent, while Quebec had 429,000.

Energy-rich provinces across the country are seeing similar spikes in inequality, too.

Thanks to what is undoubtedly fueled by an offshore oil boom, Newfoundland’s top 10 per cent took home 31.5 per cent of all income in the province in 2012, compared to just 22.4 per cent in 2006.

The number of Newfoundlanders among top 10-per-cent earners nearly doubled in that time, to more than 39,000 in 2012, from around 22,000 in 2006.

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Canada's Most, Least Equal Provinces
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Saskatchewan has also seen a spike in top earners, and a spike in inequality. The number of top 10% earners jumped to just under 91,000 in 2012, from around 59,000 in 2006.

Saskatchewan’s top 10 per cent of earners took home 34.5 per cent of all income in 2012, up from 29 per cent in 2006.

By contrast, Ontario, which has far and away the largest number of top 10 per cent earners (1.06 million at last count), has seen income concentration reduced over the past six years.

Ontario’s top 10 per cent took home 37.2 per cent of all income in 2012, compared to 40 per cent in 2006.

Overall, the top one per cent of earners in Canada took home 10.3 per cent of all income in 2012, down from 10.6 per cent a year earlier.

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