OTTAWA – An internal federal government report from last fall chronicles the economic struggles of Canada’s middle class. Here is the text of the running commentary that accompanies the tables and graphs in the document, entitled “What we know about the middle class in Canada”:
There is a slight hollowing out of the middle class in Canada.
The ‘2 parents-2 kids’ stereotype is not representative of the middle class anymore.
The majority of middle-income Canadians live in Ontario or Quebec.
Most middle and higher-income families are headed by a man but decreasingly so.
Heads of middle-income families are getting older … and more educated.
The market does not reward middle-income families so well … as a result they get an increasingly smaller share of the earnings pie.
The wages of middle-income workers have stagnated … and they get lesser government support for work transitions.
Middle-income Canadians are no more likely to move up than down the income ladder.
Wealth is not distributed equally among the middle class … and middle-income families are increasingly vulnerable to financial shocks.
Basic needs account for a large proportion of middle class’ spending … and many in the middle mortgage their future to sustain their current consumption.
A relatively small proportion of middle-income households experience material deprivation.
… over the medium term, middle-income Canadians are unlikely to move to higher income brackets i.e. the ‘Canadian dream’ is a myth more than a reality.
(Source: Employment and Social Development Canada, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act)