Income Inequality

Why Have Poorer Neighbourhoods Stagnated Economically while the Richer Have Flourished? Neighbourhood Income Inequality in Canadian Cities

Higher-income neighbourhoods in Canada’s eight largest cities flourished economically during the past quarter-century, while lower-income communities stagnated. This paper identifies some of the underlying processes that led to this outcome. Increasing family income inequality drove much of the rise in neighbourhood inequality. Increased spatial economic segregation, the increasing tendency of ‘like to live nearby like’, also played a role. It is shown that these changes originated in the labour market. Changes in investment, pension income and government transfers played a very minor role. Yet it was not unemployment that differentiated the richer from poorer neighbourhoods. Rather, it was the type of job found, particularly the annual earnings generated. The end result has been little improvement in economic resources in poor neighbourhoods during a period of substantial economic growth, and a rise in neighbourhood income inequality.


The Rise of Canada’s Richest 1%

Canada’s richest 1% — the 246,000 privileged few whose average income is $405,000 — took almost a third of all growth in incomes in the fastest growing decade in this generation, 1997 to 2007.Think that’s normal? The last time the economy grew so fast was in the 1950s and 60s, when the richest 1% of Canadians took only 8% of all income growth.The richest 1% took almost a third of all growth in one of the slowest growing decades in recent history too, 1987 to 1997. This eclipses anything seen before in Canadian history, including the share of gains eaten up by the richest 1% in the Roaring Twenties.This is the result of a stunning reversal of long-term trends, from steady increases in equality during the post-war years to growing inequality over the past generation, in good times and bad.From the beginning of the Second World War to 1977, the income share of the richest 1% was cut almost in half, from 14% to 7.7%, as the gains from growth led to more people working and better paid jobs.

Ontario’s Growing Gap: The Role of Race and Gender

Census data provides a snapshot of Ontarians’ labour market experience by gender and by racialized group. The 2006 census data clearly illustrate the discrimination experienced by racialized Ontarians in the labour market. Racialized workers have lower incomes than non-racialized workers; they have higher unemployment rates, and they are more likely to live in poverty. This paper compares incomes, labour market experience, and incidence of low income for racialized and non-racialized Ontarians. It also looks at ways in which gender and race interact in labour market outcomes.

Statistics Canada: Income Inequality and Redistribution in Canada 1976-2004

Using data from the 1976-to-1997 Survey of Consumer Finances and the 1993-to-2004 Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, we examine developments in family income inequality, income polarization, relative low income, and  income redistribution through the tax-transfer system. We conclude that family after-tax-income inequality was stable across the 1980s, but rose during the 1989-to-2004 period.   Growth in family after-tax-income inequality can be due to an increase in family market-income inequality (pre-tax, pre-transfer), or to a reduction in income redistribution through the taxtransfer system. We conclude that the increase in inequality was associated with a rise in family market-income inequality. Redistribution was at least as high in 2004 as it was at earlier cyclical peaks, but it failed to keep up with rapid growth in family market-income inequality in the 1990s. We present income inequality,  polarization, and low-income statistics for several well-known measures, and use data preparations identical to those used in the Luxembourg Income Study in order to facilitate international comparisons.

What’s Wrong With Inequality

Inequality concerns persisting and widespread disparities among the resources available for people to sustain themselves and their families in secure and healthy ways, to make adequate provision for their old age, to take advantage of amenities beyond bare subsistence, to participate in political or community affairs, to engage in volunteer activities, and to pursue valued long-term goals such as succeeding in their occupations or developing talents (as for artistic enjoyment and creation or engagement in hobbies or sports). The contrast is a social ideal where, as several political philosophers conceive of it, distribution of resources is sufficient for everyone to have realistic a chance of leading a meaningful, satisfying, or happy life.