Average Income In Canada By Age: Who Earns the Most? (2024)

Wondering if you’re earning as much or more than your peers of the same age?

The average annual income for all individuals in Canada is $54,000.

Here is the average income in Canada by age range, according to Stats Canada.

Age RangeAverage Income (2021)
16 to 24$20,000
25 to 34$53,500
35 to 44$68,000
45 to 54$73,200
55 to 64$61,400
65 and older$44,300
All Ages (16 years and Older)$54,000
Highlights and interpretations:

I found this data to be fascinating, and here were some of the conclusions I came up with:

  • The average income tends to increase with age, up until the age group 45 to 54, which has the highest average income at $73,200. This could indicate that individuals generally reach their peak earning potential during this period in their lives.
  • Following the peak, the average income starts to decrease. The group aged 55 to 64 sees a drop to $61,400, which may be a reflection of some individuals starting to retire or reduce their working hours.
  • For the age group of 65 and older, there is a more significant drop to $44,300, reflecting the retirement phase where individuals are primarily reliant on pensions, savings, or passive income rather than salaries from active employment.
  • The overall average income for all ages (16 years and older) is $54,000. This is skewed by the higher earning potential of those in the mid to late stages of their career.
  • The youngest age group, 16 to 24, has the lowest average income at $20,000. This is understandable given this group is typically populated by students, young workers, and those in entry-level positions. This age group also typically works fewer hours on average, as many are enrolled in full-time education.
  • The age group 25 to 34 shows more than a 100% increase in average income from the previous bracket, reflecting the transition from education to full-time employment and early career development.
  • There’s a relatively smaller percentage increase from the 25-34 bracket ($53,500) to the 35-44 bracket ($68,000), possibly reflecting the slower career progression as individuals settle into mid-career roles.
  • The average income range does seem to correlate with key career milestones – starting off in the workforce, reaching peak income potential, and moving into retirement.

Note that the average income figures are for 2021, which is the most recent available data. The income represents the total income received, including wages, self-employment, market income, and government benefits.

Which Age Group Makes the Most Money In Canada?

The highest-earning age group is from 45 to 54. Around this time, you typically hit your peak earning potential and make the most money.

While that age range makes the most money, there’s still a huge disparity between genders. According to the same statistics, men 45 to 54 averaged $84,600, while women of the same age only brought in $62,100.

According to the OECD, among full-time employees, there is a 16.1% difference between the average earnings of women and men compared to the median earnings of men.

Out of all the countries ranked, Canada comes in with the eighth-worst pay gap. 

The gender pay gap impacts all life stages. It means that women leave post-secondary schools with the same amount of loans but fewer means to pay them back.

In addition, they may have less retirement income than men simply because they earned less during their peak years, thereby contributing a smaller amount.

What’s the Average Income By Province?

Generally, living in the city usually increases your earning potential. You’d expect big Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver to put Ontario and British Columbia to the top of the list.

Both provinces are neck and neck in second and third place, but Alberta leads the way.

Calgary is home to the most millionaires per capita. There are so many wealthy people living there because of its abundance of oil and gas.

This booming industry helped the city grow and prosper. Now, it consistently ranks as one of the richest provinces. 

On the flip side, those living in Nova Scotia earn near the bottom. A recent report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report card on child and family poverty that saw Nova Scotia performing the worst at reducing poverty levels from thirty years ago.

The findings released stated that 1 in 4 children in Nova Scotia lives in poverty. The numbers show that it’s only been reduced by .1 of a percentage point since 1989.

Average income by province for 2021 (most recent available data):

ProvinceAverage Income
British Columbia$54,700
Newfoundland and Labrador$49,300
New Brunswick$47,400
Prince Edward Island$46,500
Nova Scotia$48,100

Median vs average income in Canada

Many people believe that the median income is a better representation of what most Canadians are earning, as it negates the effect of extremely high-income earners.

While the average annual income in Canada for 2021 is $54,000, the median income is much lower, at $41,200. The median is most likely a more accurate representation of what most Canadians earn than the average.

Is the Younger Generation Better Off Than Their Parents?

Parents always want their children to do better than them – but in these days of inflation and high costs, is that even possible?

CBC did the research and found that while millennials make more money than the gen-Xers of 1999 and baby boomers of 1984, they’re saddled with much more debt.

According to the article, millennials from 2016 had an average income of $44,093. Adjusted for inflation, gen-X made $33,276, and baby boomers made $33,350 at the same age.

While that’s good news, most millennials will tell you they don’t feel like they’re doing much better.

Housing prices have soared since the 1980s and 1990s, leading many millennials to struggle to buy a house of their own, something unheard of during their parents’ generation.

At the time of the study, the average mortgage in 2016 was $218,000. For gen-X during 1999, the average was $117,481, and for baby boomers, it was $67,802.

The huge difference means millennials incur more debt while only earning a small portion more than their parents.

Also, you need to consider rising education costs and the fact that most millennials leave college and other post-secondary institutions footing significant student debt.

The bottom line is that while millennials make more money than their parents, they also shoulder more debt. With inflation, a blazing hot housing market, and rising food and gas costs, that doesn’t look like it’ll end anytime soon.

Why Income Inequality Is a Problem

Why Income Inequality Is a Problem

As expenses continue to rise, many companies aren’t giving their employees enough of a bump in pay to account for the increases. In turn, the younger generation doesn’t have nearly enough disposable income as older Canadians.

The Financial Post reported that Canadians aged 50 to 54 have a 64% higher disposable income than 25 to 29-year-olds. That’s concerning for a few reasons.

As the baby boomers move into retirement, there’s less population base with fewer means to drive economic growth and support public health programs.

Consider the healthcare costs estimated for an aging generation and all the other public programs that now burden the younger generation.

Add to it the fact that wages aren’t increasing to keep up with inflation and the considerable debt younger workers face just to own a home or secure an education, and it’s easy to see how this can become a giant problem.

The bottom line is that the younger Canadian workers are struggling to keep up. Without a solution, the income inequality gap will only grow and continue to cause damaging social and economic consequences.

Influence of Education and Experience on Income

When it comes to income in Canada, education and work experience play a significant role. In this section, we will discuss how education and experience levels affect income, with sub-sections on high school, post-secondary education, and work experience.

High School

While a high school diploma is the minimum requirement for many jobs, it does not necessarily lead to high-paying positions.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2021, individuals with a high school diploma earned an average hourly wage of $21.23, compared to $31.87 for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Post-Secondary Education

In 2015, women with a bachelor’s degree earned considerably more than women with college, high school, or trades education, according to Statistics Canada. Similarly, men with a bachelor’s degree earned 7% more than men with a college diploma, 31% more than men with a high school diploma, and 11% less than men with a bachelor’s degree.

Work Experience

Work experience is another important factor in determining income. In 2021, full-time employees with 1 to 4 years of experience earned an average hourly wage of $23.71, while those with 10 to 19 years of experience earned $35.22 per hour, according to Statistics Canada.

Final Thoughts

The average income varies based on age. Those 45 to 54 have the potential to earn the most and make an average income of $73,200.

The province you live in has a lot to do with how much you earn as well. Those living in Alberta make far more than others throughout the country.

If you’re curious about how many wealthy people there are and where they live, check out how many millionaires are in Canada.

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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1 thought on “Average Income In Canada By Age: Who Earns the Most? (2024)”

  1. Canadians 50-54 have more disposable income than younger people is the same story for the past 50 years. They are at the top of their career , just like the younger generation will be when they are 50-54. They worked for years at lower pay and have probably finished helping put their kids through university or may have lower mortgage payments as they are at the end of their mortgage – with the early years of their mortgage being at 16-18percent interest rates that do not go towards capital. While I admit mortgages are higher – interest rates have never been lower. The same will be true for the younger generation when they hit their 50’s. Keep it in context.


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