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Income Statistics in Canada and the Role of Education

Income Statistics in Canada and the Role of Education

This is a reblog of Junjie’s post in Pinoys To Canada, January 19, 2015.

(This should be the last of my “statistics” blogs. I just have this last interesting bunch of numbers I would like to share with you. I had this written but unpublished for many many months now, so some numbers may appear stale. But still, for what it’s worth …. )

Giving our children a college education has always been high in the list of priorities of Filipinos parents. If there’s any way to make that happen, we would.

But is a college degree important here in Canada? One hears that in the US and Canada, a high school education is enough to get decent work. One hears that a technical diploma that takes, say just 2 years, already leads to “high-paying” blue collar jobs. One hears for example, that plumbers, handymen and electricians are very well-paid for their time.

And then of course we all know of college dropouts who are among the richest men in the planet, like Bill Gates of Microsoft.

Maybe. But regardless if you are Canadian-born or an immigrant, what do the statistics on income say? Is education important?

FIRST, WHAT DOES “HIGH INCOME” MEAN ?

Let’s look at income levels, just so we have a reference for understanding what it means, income-wise, to be in the top 10% of income earners in Canada.

For income earners in Canada in 2010 :

  • The median income was $27,900 per year.
  • The top 10% earners had incomes of over $80,400.
  • The top 5% earners had incomes of over $102,300.
  • The top 1% earners had incomes of over $191,100.

The minimum wage in 2010 for Alberta was $8.80 per hour. Assuming a 35-hour work week x 52 weeks, a full-time minimum wage earner would have an $16,016 annual income in 2010. (In September 2013, the minimum wage in Alberta has risen to $9.95 per hour).

SO HOW DOES EDUCATION AFFECT INCOME ?

The chart below should not come as a surprise. The higher the income bracket, the higher the percentage of university graduates in that bracket. But of course, right? Study the chart for a while, and take note of the small percentage of those in the top 10%, top 5% and top 1% who did not even finish high school. It should also be easy to see that having at least a diploma or degree after high school increases your chances of earning well.

Education_of_High_Income

No surprises in the numbers, really. The Bill Gates in the world are the exceptions, rather than the rule. Education — a university degree specifically — does matter, does translate to higher income.

It would be nice to come across statistics that tell us how earning graduate degrees, such as Masters and PhDs translate to higher income. If I do, I will surely let you know.

My bottomline? Study! Earn a college degree! The stats say you will likely earn more if you do.

Source : “Education and Occupation of High Income Canadians”, National Housing Survey 2011, Statistics Canada.

http://srv116.services.gc.ca/dimt-wid/sm-mw/rpt2.aspx?lang=eng&dec=5

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