The home of the oil sands is the richest municipality in Canada, according to new data from Statistics Canada.
The median family in Fort McMurray, Alberta -- officially known as the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo -- had an income of $169,790 in 2010, StatsCan reported Wednesday. That means there are as many families or households in Fort McMurray that have an income above that number as there are below.
It’s a stunningly high number, some 32 per cent higher than the second-wealthiest municipality in Canada -- Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, with a median family income of $128,810.
Much of this phenomenon can be attributed to the resource wealth boom in western and northern Canada, and the fact few people are willing to relocate to remote places -- which drives up salaries for the professionals needed in those communities.
Notably, all 10 of the wealthiest small towns are in western Canada, a reflection of the growing imbalance between regional economies across the country.
By comparison, Canada’s large cities aren’t nearly as wealthy. The wealthiest of them, the Ottawa-Gatineau region, had a median family income of $90,790. Although Calgary and Edmonton made the list, the country’s three largest metropolitan areas -- Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver -- did not.
Among larger cities, the biggest gains in family income were found in Guelph, Ontario (up 2.1 per cent from the previous year), while Vancouver saw the biggest drop -- down 2.5 per cent.
Among smaller towns and cities, Sept-Iles, Quebec saw the biggest jump (up 5.8 per cent) and Kitimat, B.C., saw the biggest decline (down 7.3 per cent).