September 2012, 19 pagesSBreau Top 1 percent CIRPPPA

The Occupy movement has propelled the issue of growing income inequality at the center of public policy debates. This paper uses unpublished micro-data from the census long-form files to examine patterns of inequality in Canada over the 1991 to 2006 period, paying particular attention to changes in the characteristics of high income earners. High income earners are defined as individuals in the top 1% of the income distribution. To be admitted to this club, a person had to earn at least $155,000 in 2006. In that same year, the mean income of top earners (i.e. $344,000) was more than 11 times what the average Canadian made and overall the top 1% held more than 11% of the nation’s total income, a much larger figure than the 7.6% held by the top 1% only fifteen years earlier. Significant changes in the geography of the top 1% are also identified.

Sébastien Breau