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Changes in family wealth

  • By Raj K. Chawla


  • The overall debt-to-income ratio for Canadian families climbed from 1.02 in 1999 to 1.21 in 2005 as the average debt jumped by one-third from $62,700 to $82,500, but income increased by only one-tenth from $61,600 to $68,100.

  • In both years, the proportion of families carrying debt peaked at over 80% when the family's major income recipient was in their 30s and fell below 20% when major income recipient was 75 or over.

  • Despite a heavier debt load in 2005, families were wealthier on average than in 1999 as net assets rose from $281,000 to $380,700. The increase was almost evenly divided between non-financial and financial holdings.

  • Overall, neither the distribution nor the inequality of wealth changed between 1999 and 2005 even though more families were worth at least one million dollars and fewer were wholly dependent on government transfers.

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