Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

View article (HTML) View issue (PDF) Main menu Editor's corner More news Contact us Survey information Back issues Statistics Canada home page In depth Français
Statistics Canada logo


system menu - text links at bottom of page
mast-head for "Perspectives on Labour and Income"
sub-heading "The online edition"
heading for "Highlights"

October 2002     Vol. 3, no. 10

Family spending power

Jamie Carson

  • Families with two or more adults have unadjusted incomes above the overall average because they have more potential earners. On the other hand, unattached individuals and lone parents have after-tax income averages just over half the overall average. Adjusting incomes to account for family size and composition-using an 'equivalence scale'-changes the picture.
  • Based on the adjusted figures, the average family had the equivalent spending power of an unattached individual with $26,900 in after-tax income in 1999. Adjusted incomes fall into a narrower range, so the gap between the highest and lowest 20% falls from $8 (unadjusted) to $5 for every $1. This smaller gap indicates a tighter distribution when incomes are adjusted for family size.
  • Many demographic trends contributed to changes in the size and type of families between 1980 and 1999. The family with two parents and children saw a decline, while other forms of household organization increased. The average family size in 1999 was 10% smaller than in 1980.


Jamie Carson is with the Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics Division. He can be reached at (613) 951-1094 or

Statistics Canada FIP identifier Government of Canada wordmark
View article (HTML) | View issue (PDF) ]
Main menu | Editor's corner | More news | Contact us | Survey information | Back issues ]
Statistics Canada home page | In depth | Français ]

© Statistics Canada - Conditions of  use Published: 2002 10 23