In­come mo­bil­ity higher for 30-some­things: data

Fared bet­ter fi­nan­cially than their par­ents, StatsCan re­search finds

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD -

OT­TAWA — A new study from Sta­tis­tics Canada ap­pears to sug­gest that 30- and 40some­thing Cana­di­ans are more likely than their coun­ter­parts south of the bor­der to live the Amer­i­can dream of earn­ing more than their par­ents.

The re­search re­leased Tues­day by the na­tional sta­tis­tics of­fice found that over­all, Cana­dian chil­dren who turned 30 and 40 be­tween 2000 and 2014 earned more than their par­ents did at the same age.

When look­ing at sim­i­lar re­search about Amer­i­cans’ in­comes, Sta­tis­tics Canada found that rates of ab­so­lute in­come mo­bil­ity, or the per­cent­age of chil­dren who earn more than their par­ents, were higher in the United States for chil­dren born in 1970.

But things changed for chil­dren born be­tween 1971 and 1984: Grown Amer­i­can chil­dren saw their eco­nomic out­comes sub­stan­tially de­cline rel­a­tive to their par­ents’, while their Cana­dian coun­ter­parts saw their rates of in­come mo­bil­ity re­main rel­a­tively sta­ble.

While the fig­ures, cal­cu­lated in 2015 dol­lars, sug­gest that Cana­di­ans who re­cently turned 30 and 40 have fared bet­ter fi­nan­cially than their par­ents at the same age, fed­eral politi­cians say there is still rea­son to be con­cerned about whether young peo­ple today will see the same eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Yes, they are mak­ing more money, but the cost of liv­ing has in­creased quite a bit as well, so we have to look at both of those,” said Con­ser­va­tive fam­i­lies critic Karen Vec­chio.

Vec­chio pointed to the ris­ing cost of hous­ing, changes in fam­ily makeup and an evolv­ing labour mar­ket with in­creases in pre­car­i­ous work as in­di­ca­tors that ris­ing in­comes alone don’t tell the whole story.

“We have to rec­og­nize that we’re do­ing fine, but could we be do­ing bet­ter? And I think the an­swer is very much a yes there,” said Vec­chio, who was born in 1971, one of the age co­horts in­cluded in the Sta­tis­tics Canada study.

NDP deputy fi­nance critic Nathan Cullen said the data shouldn’t let the Trudeau Lib­er­als be­lieve all is well sim­ply be­cause in­comes have grown over time.

“Many Cana­di­ans are strug­gling to make ends meet and study af­ter study show that the dis­par­ity be­tween the wealthy and ev­ery­one else con­tin­ues to grow,” Cullen said.

“We need a gov­ern­ment that works to sup­port Cana­di­ans work­ing pre­car­i­ously, not one that tells them to get used to it.”

The re­search pub­lished Tues­day found that of Cana­di­ans who turned 30 be­tween 2000 and 2014, be­tween 59 and 67 per cent — de­pend­ing on the year — had a fam­ily in­come that was equal to, or greater than what their par­ents earned at the same age.

The study says be­tween 61 and 67 per cent — again, de­pend­ing on the year be­ing looked at — of those in the study had a higher fam­ily in­come at age 40 than their par­ents did at the same age. Sta­tis­tics Canada said that any vari­a­tions be­tween years ap­pears to cor­re­spond with gen­eral changes in the econ­omy, a ref­er­ence to the down­turn in 2009 and the slow re­bound that fol­lowed.

Chil­dren with par­ents at the low­est in­come lev­els were more likely to have a higher fam­ily in­come than their par­ents did at age 30, while the op­po­site was true for those whose par­ents were among the top in­come earn­ers.

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO

MP Nathan Cullen says even if in­comes have risen over time, many Cana­di­ans still strug­gle.

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