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July 2001     Vol. 2, no. 7

Who contributes to RRSPs? A re-examination

Boris Palameta

  • In 1999, 44.8% of men aged 25 to 64 with RRSP room made an RRSP normal contribution, compared with 37.6% of women. However, men also had higher incomes than women had. When men's and women's RRSP participation rates were compared within the same income brackets, women had higher rates in every bracket.
  • RRSP participation rates were highest for people aged 45 to 54, also the age group with the highest incomes. When comparisons were made within the same income brackets, persons aged 45 to 54 had the highest participation rate only at incomes below $30,000. At higher incomes, 25 to 34 year-olds had the highest participation rate.
  • People with an employer-sponsored pension plan had a higher RRSP participation rate-and higher incomes-than people without such a plan. However, comparing within the same income brackets, those with pensions had higher participation rates only at incomes below $30,000. At higher incomes, people without pension plans were the more likely contributors.


Boris Palameta is with the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division. He can be reached at (613) 951-2124 or

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