Calgary leads increase in income inequality
City of Calgary
According to a recent report from the Parkland Institute, Calgary is the most unequal city in the country when it comes to income.
Analysis by the institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives of new data on Canada’s richest 1% shows that the top 1% of Calgarians saw an increase in real income of $570,000 between 1982 and 2010, while the bottom 90% saw an increase in real pay of only $2,000 over the same 28 year period.
The report says that the growing spread between the groups makes Calgary the most unequal city in Canada with the top 1% bringing in 26 times more than the bottom 90% did in 2010.
Edmontonians also saw an increase in inequality with a $209,000 increase in real incomes for the top 1% while the increase for the bottom 90% was only $3,000 since 1982.
“The numbers for Calgary in particular will hopefully put an end to the myth that the province’s mad rush to develop and export our natural resources as quickly as possible is in the public interest,” said Parkland’s Calgary Research Manager David Campanella. “Hopefully Premier Redford and the provincial government will keep that reality in mind as they prepare this year’s budget and consider how to move the provincial economy forward.”
Calgary’s high numbers are largely driving the provincial trend and according to the report, Alberta has become the country’s most unequal province.
The new data shows that incomes (adjusted for inflation) for the top 1% of Albertans doubled between 1982 and 2010 with an increase of $320,000 while the bottom 90% of Albertans saw their incomes increase by a total of only $3,900 over the same time period.
“These numbers reinforce what we’ve been saying for the last few years,” says Parkland’s Research Director Shannon Stunden Bower. “Only a small number of Albertans are seeing the benefits of the province’s natural resource wealth and prosperity.”
According to the institute Alberta’s top 1% had incomes 10 times larger than the bottom 90% in 1982 and by 2010 that ratio had jumped to 18 times.