Per capita disposable income: Purchasing power of Quebecers down in 2013

Québec, December 17, 2014 – According to the most recent preliminary data, per capita disposable income in current dollars increased by 0.9% in Québec in 2013. Over the same period, household final consumption expenditures grew even faster, at a rate of 1.2%. This means that the purchasing power of Quebecers as measured by real disposable income per capita decreased by 0.3% in 2013, a first since 1996. Real disposable income was down from 2012, namely because direct taxes and contributions to social insurance plans paid by Quebecers have grown faster than social transfers and primary income. In Canada, per capita disposable income rose by 1.3% in real terms compared with 2012. The last time Québec had a real increase higher than the Canadian average was in 2009.

Québec, with a per capita disposable income of $26,774 in current dollars, ranked twelfth among all provinces and territories in 2013. Only Prince Edward Island fared worse, with a per capita disposable income of $26,439. The Canadian average stood at $30,746 per capita. This was revealed in the disposable income data updated by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

Montréal on the decline

Among Québec’s 17 administrative regions, only Montréal recorded a decrease in per capita disposable income in 2013, which was down 0.3% in current dollars. Lower net property income and slower growth of employee remuneration certainly contributed to the decline of per capita disposable income in Montréal.

Despite relatively slow growth in 2013, the Côte-Nord region had the highest disposable income of all administrative regions for the fourth consecutive year, at $28,890 per capita. It was immediately followed by Montérégie ($28,115) and Abitibi-Témiscamingue ($27,997).

Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Mauricie still come in last

In contrast, the Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Mauricie regions were still at the bottom of the ranking with a per capita disposable income of $23,136 and $23,474 respectively.

Census metropolitan areas (CMAs): Québec still ahead of Montréal

With a disposable income of $28,568 per capita, Québec ranked first among all CMAs in the province for the third consecutive year. It was immediately followed by Montréal ($27,831) and Gatineau ($27,803), the only other metropolitan areas with a disposable income higher than the provincial average. In contrast, the Saguenay ($25,794), Sherbrooke ($25,357), and Trois-Rivières ($24,652) CMAs continued to have below average disposable incomes.

Caniapiscau residents have a higher income than Albertans

The Caniapiscau RCM on the Côte-Nord, whose economy is largely built on the mining sector, retained its first rank among RCMs, thanks to a per capita disposable income of $40,651. Caniapiscau residents therefore have a higher income level than Albertans.

Methodological note

Disposable income is the sum of all incomes received by the residents of a given territory, less certain current transfers such as direct taxes and contributions to social insurance plans. Therefore, disposable income is the proportion of income available to households for final consumption of goods and services and for savings.

The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyses and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is the statistical coordinator for Québec and the relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.


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