indicatorThe Owl

Adding it up

Average household spending in Alberta

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 24 October 2023 1 min read

The latest household spending numbers from Statistics Canada show that Alberta households spent, on average, $75,003 on goods and services in 2021.

Keeping a roof over our heads was the largest spending category with households spending an average of $23,294 on shelter* or 31.1% of their total expenditures.

Food formed the next largest expenditure category at $11,901 (15.9%) followed by transportation at $11,066 (14.8%).

The smallest spending category was reading materials and other printed matter at just $209 (0.3%) per household.

Alberta households also paid an average of $20,305 in income taxes.**

Spending patterns changed during the pandemic with the overall effect being a 6.5% reduction in average expenditure in 2021 compared to 2019 (the survey is conducted every two years).

Spending categories that went up in 2021 include, for example, audio equipment and home theatre systems (+357.9%), bicycles (+112.5%), garden supplies (+34.3%), and mortgage payments (+8.8%). Data for Alberta are not available, but the purchase of pets went up by 79.5% nationally.

Examples of areas in which spending decreased include air travel (-73.7%), public transportation (-63.0%), use of recreational facilities (-58.7%), hotels and motels (-52.9%), and  laundromats, dry-cleaning and laundry services (-51.1%).

It will be interesting to see how inflation, higher borrowing costs and more distance from the effects of the pandemic has changed spending patterns in 2023 when we eventually get the data.

*Principal accommodation (either owned or rented) and all other accommodation (such as vacation homes or accommodation while travelling).

**The sum of federal and provincial income taxes payable for the taxation year prior to the reference year of the survey. Taxes on income, capital gains and RRSP withdrawals are included, after exemptions, deductions, and non-refundable tax credits are taken into account.

Answer to the previous trivia question: The first Major League Baseball World Series was held in 1903.

Today’s trivia question: On average, how much did Alberta households spend on “games of chance” such as lottery tickets and VLTs in 2021?

Shelter was the largest expenditure for Alberta households in 2021

Shelter was the largest expenditure for Alberta households in 2021

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