Wealth gap widened in Québec

Québec, May 6, 2015 – Between 1999 and 2012, wealth inequality widened in Québec between the least well-off 40% of families and the wealthiest 60% of families. Median net worth grew less than 50% among less well-off families while it increased by about 100% among the wealthiest families. Nevertheless, Québec families became considerably richer over the last decade as their median net worth doubled from $100,200 to $197,900 in constant dollars.

TFSAs are proving to be popular

Median assets in retirement funds increased significantly (+80%), along with the value of principal residences (+89%). Among the changes observed in savings behaviour, it was noted that nearly a third of all Québec families have opened TFSAs, which confirms the program’s popularity. In contrast, the proportion of households holding RRSPs has stalled, while the share of households owning savings bonds has dropped sharply since 1999.

Sharp increase in the proportion of credit line debt

Families are using credit more often than before. About 3 out of 4 families incurred debts in 2012, compared with only 2 out of 3 in 1999. In particular, there was a significant increase in the use of credit cards, credit lines and car loans. These changes in financial behaviour led to a higher proportion of credit line debt, which accounted for 11% of all household debt in 2012 versus 4% in 1999. Contrary to all expectations, the relative weight of property debt remained stable despite a rise in the value of mortgage loans.

These results are taken from issue No. 39 of the publication Coup d’œil sociodémographique and from tables available on the website of the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

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