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November 2000     Vol. 1, no. 2

Income inequality within provinces

Dimitri Sanga

  • In 1998, for every dollar of market income (income before taxes and government transfers) for the 20% of economic families with the lowest incomes, the 20% with the highest incomes had, on average, $14.50. When the comparison is based on after-tax income, the inequality ratio was only $5.40.
  • At both the national and provincial level, the inequality ratio was highest for market income and lowest for after-tax income for every year between 1980 and 1998.
  • In 1998, Prince Edward Island had the smallest inequality ratio for after-tax income, while Alberta had the largest.
  • From 1980 to 1998, the gap between the province with the lowest ratio for total income (income before taxes but after government transfers) and the one with the highest grew from 1.40 to 2.20, while the gap for after-tax income edged up from 1.10 to 1.90.
  • Inequalities in market income tended to increase. The other two income measures reveal a similar tendency-though on a smaller scale-for the majority of provinces.


Dimitri Sanga is with the Prices Division. He can be reached at (613) 951-3116 or

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