Median Income of Individuals (Before Tax), Age 15+: Census


Before-Tax Income:  Refers to total income, before income taxes and deductions. Income sources include employment income; investment income; other regular cash income such as child support payments, alimony, and scholarships; and government transfers such as social assistance, Employment Insurance benefits, Canada Pension Plan payments, and so on. Income sources that are excluded from the total are one-time receipts such as lottery winnings, cash inheritances, insurance settlements, and withdrawals from TFSAs or RRSPs; capital gains; employer contributions to registered pension plans, Canada Pension Plan, Quebec Pension Plan, and Employment Insurance; as well as voluntary inter-household transfers, imputed rent, goods and services produced for barter, and goods produced for personal consumption.

Low Income:  For this project, low income is defined using the before-tax low-income cut-off (LICO-BT). The LICO-BT levels are income thresholds below which economic families or persons not in economic families would likely have devoted a larger share of their total income than average to the necessities of food, shelter, and clothing. When the total income of an economic family member or a person not in an economic family falls below the threshold, the person is considered to be in low income according to LICO-BT. The LICO levels are updated annually and vary depending on family size and the total population within the community of residence. 

Median Individual Income:  The amount that divides the income distribution of individuals in Canada aged 15 years and older into two halves (i.e., the incomes of half of the people in that group are below the median, while those of the other half are above the median).

NOTE – INTERPRETATION OF INCOME DATA:  The income estimates for recent immigrants and non-permanent residents may be less reliable and not directly comparable to other population groups due to the unique circumstances related to how their income estimates are calculated. Please use caution when interpreting income data for these groups.


2006 Dashboard Data:  Statistics Canada. 2006. Census of Population. Custom tabulations.

2016 Dashboard Data:  Statistics Canada. 2016. Census of Population. Custom tabulations.

2021 Dashboard Data:  Statistics Canada. 2021. Census of Population. Custom tabulations.

Definitions:  Statistics Canada. 2023 (updated). Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021. Website.


Median Income of Individuals (Before Tax), Age 15+: Census in the Sustainable Development Goals

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1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990. While this is a remarkable achievement, one in five people in developing regions still live on less than $1.90 a day, and there are millions more who make little more than this daily amount, plus many people risk slipping back into poverty.

Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.

Related Median Income of Individuals (Before Tax), Age 15+: Census Targets


By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions


Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable


By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance

10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

The international community has made significant strides towards lifting people out of poverty. The most vulnerable nations – the least developed countries, the landlocked developing countries and the small island developing states – continue to make inroads into poverty reduction. However, inequality still persists and large disparities remain in access to health and education services and other assets.

Additionally, while income inequality between countries may have been reduced, inequality within countries has risen. There is growing consensus that economic growth is not sufficient to reduce poverty if it is not inclusive and if it does not involve the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.

To reduce inequality, policies should be universal in principle paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations.