Per capita disposable income in 2014: Québec ranks last among Canadian provinces

Québec, January 18, 2016 – In 2014, Québec ranked last among Canadian provinces and territories for the second consecutive year, with a per capita disposable income of $26,046. Alberta ranked first, with a disposable income of $40,495 per capita. In Canada, per capita disposable income was $30,270. The fact that Québec is lagging behind Canada is largely due to employee remuneration, the main component of disposable income, which remains significantly lower than in the rest of the country. That was revealed in the disposable income data updated by the Institut de la statistique du Québec and published today on its website.

Québecers’ purchasing power grew more slowly

In 2014, per capita disposable income in current dollars rose by 1.5% in Québec. Over the same period, the household final consumption expenditure implicit price index increased by 1.4%. This means that the purchasing power of Québecers, measured by real disposable income per capita, rose by barely 0.1%, its weakest growth in nine years. This slowdown was mainly due to weak growth in employee remuneration and government transfers, as well as to a sharp increase in pension plans contributions paid by employees.

Decline in disposable income in the Outaouais and Côte-Nord regions

According to preliminary data, per capita disposable income in current dollars increased from 2013 to 2014 in all administrative regions in the province, except for Outaouais and Côte-Nord, where it declined by 0.6% and 0.1% respectively.

Despite this decrease, disposable income per capita in the Côte-Nord region ($26,917) was still among the highest of the 17 administrative regions. Only the Montérégie ($27,246) and Capitale-Nationale ($27,219) regions fared better than the Côte-Nord region. The Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Mauricie regions remained at the bottom of the ranking with respective per capita disposable incomes of $23,317, $23,324 and $23,555.

Census metropolitan areas (CMAs): Montréal posts strongest growth

Of the six metropolitan areas in the province, Montréal (+1.9%) was the only one to register a higher growth rate of its disposable income, in current dollars, than the provincial average. This growth was mostly due to an upturn in net property income and to an increase in employee remuneration.

Despite slower growth in 2014, Québec ($27,179) once again registered a higher per capita disposable income than Montréal ($26,758). The CMAs of Gatineau ($25,547), Saguenay ($24,879), Trois-Rivières ($24,093) and Sherbrooke ($23,813) continued to post per capita disposable incomes below the Québec average.

Negative or weak growth in mining RCMs

In 2014, growth in disposable income was weak or even negative in most RCMs whose economy largely depends on mineral resource development. This was the case of Caniapiscau (-0.1%), Jamésie (0.0%), Rouyn-Noranda (+0.1%) and La Vallée-de-l’Or (+0.7%).

Historical revision of data

Disposable income estimates underwent a major historical revision. Data was adjusted to reflect the changes made to the disposable income estimation method. The most significant change concerns the treatment of defined benefit pension plans. To comply with the new international standards of macro-economic accounting, contributions to and withdrawals from these pension plans are now included in the calculation of disposable income.

What is disposable income?

Disposable income is the sum of all incomes (salaries, net property income, social benefits, etc.) received by the residents of a given territory, less certain current transfers paid by those residents such as direct taxes and contributions to social insurance plans. In short, disposable income is the amount 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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