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TD Bank report says income inequality has held about steady since 1998

TORONTO – A new report by TD Bank says household income inequality in Canada has remained steady since 1998 as low income Canadians and those at the high end have both posted similar gains on a percentage basis.

The report says the gap between rich and poor increased in the 1990s as governments worked to balance their budgets, but since then has held steady.

TD Bank chief economist Craig Alexander says real income growth for those at the bottom 20 per cent has risen 20 per cent since 1998.

That compares with a gain of 18 per cent for those in the top 20 per cent.

However, Alexander notes the way income inequality is measured masks the fact that the absolute gains by the poorest Canadians are relatively small compared with the country’s richest earners.

Even after a 20 per cent increase, the after-inflation level of income of those in the bottom 20 per cent increased to only $15,200 in 2010 from $12,700 in 1998.