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What You Have To Earn To Be In The 1% In Canada’s Major Cities

It takes nearly three times as much to be rich in Calgary as it does in the Niagara region.

If you've been following the financial news, you've likely come across stories about how Canada is getting richer, both minting homegrown millionaires and attracting immigrant millionaires from abroad.

Looking at the land rush in Toronto and Vancouver, you could be forgiven for thinking that Canada might be turning into a playground for the rich.

So what does it mean to be rich in Canada these days? Of course there's no one definition of "rich," but ever since the Great Recession we've been hearing a lot about "the one per cent," the very top earners in our economy who seem to be accumulating more and more of the world's wealth.

Those people are indisputably rich. So what does it take to be one of them in Canada today?

We asked Statistics Canada to break down income distribution data from the 2016 census by metro area, and they found some pretty remarkable differences from city to city. Case in point: You need nearly three times as much income to be a one-percenter in Calgary as you would in Sherbrooke, Que., or southern Ontario's Niagara region.

In StatCan's view, the big story in Canadian incomes over the past decade has been the resource boom, leading to higher incomes on the Prairies, and the decline of manufacturing, leading to job losses in traditional manufacturing bases.

That would help to explain why the average price of a home in Calgary cost $434,000 in January, while in the auto town of Windsor you can pick up an average house for $272,000 -- even after years of strong price growth.

Here are the incomes needed to be a one-percenter in each of Canada's 20 largest metro areas, as well as the income needed to be in the top 20 per cent of earners — as good a definition of "upper income" as any.

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $51,413

Median household income: $73,250

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $53,393

Median household income: $74,140

Old Quebec City view Canada
Old Quebec City view Canada

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $59,169

Median household income: $87,570

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $57,950

Median household income: $78,700

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $58,203

Median household income: $80,570

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $58,631

Median household income: $81,880

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $61,125

Median household income: $85,940

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $66,207

Median household income: $92,080

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $61,419

Median household income: $86,930

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $62,940

Median household income: $89,640

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $56,348

Median household income: $76,950

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $71,864

Median household income: $97,940

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $62,978

Median household income: $87,590

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $68,683

Median household income: $94,580

*The Ontario part of the Ottawa-Gatineau region

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $74,488

Median household income: $104,070

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $60,147

Median household income: $79,930

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $66,542

Median household income: $96,320

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $75,773

Median household income: $101,870

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $61,665

Median household income: $78,280

Individual income needed to be in the top 20%: $78,924

Median household income: $104,410

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