indicatorThe Owl

High incomes lower but still high

The top one per cent of tax filers in Alberta had an average income of $611,200 in 2018

By ATB Economics 19 November 2020 1 min read

New data from Statistics Canada provide insight into Albertans at the upper and lower ends of the income continuum as of 2018. “While the estimates do not reflect the impacts of COVID-19, they do provide a baseline for developments in the COVID period, and shine a light on which Canadians may be more and less vulnerable.”

The average total income* of Alberta tax filers in 2018 was $58,500. This was the highest level among the provinces with the national average coming in at $49,700.

It is important to note that a portion of the difference is due to the fact that Alberta has the youngest population among the provinces and, in turn, a higher portion of tax filers in their prime earning years.

The impact of the 2015-16 provincial recession is evident with real (i.e., controlling for inflation) average income in Alberta down by 11.1 per cent compared to 2015 while the national average went up, albeit by a meager 0.1 per cent.

At the upper end of the income scale, the top one per cent of tax filers in Alberta had an average income of $611,200 in 2018 and accounted for 10.4 per cent of all income earned in the province that year.

In Canada as a whole, the average income of the top one per cent was $496,200 with the top tier accounting for 10.0 per cent of all income earned in Canada.

Calgary and Edmonton differ in this respect, with the top one per cent of tax filers in Calgary earning an average income of $830,300 in 2018 compared to $507,800 in Edmonton. Calgary is first among the Census Metropolitan Areas. Toronto is in second spot at $721,200 and Vancouver is in third at $621,100.

Another sign of the negative economic impact of the recession in Alberta is that the average income of the top one per cent of earners fell by 36.5 per cent between 2015 and 2018.

Tomorrow’s Owl will examine the data on Albertans at the lower end of the income continuum.

*Total income consists of income from earnings, investments, pensions, spousal support payments and other taxable income plus government transfers and refundable tax credits.

The average income of the top one per cent of earners in Alberta fell by 36.5 per cent between 2015 and 2018

The average income of the top one per cent of earners in Alberta fell by 36.5 per cent between 2015 and 2018


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