Apr 22, 2014

By Michael Kramer

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A surprising new study suggests middle-class Canadians are doing better than members of the American middle class.

The New York Times reports that Canada’s middle class is leading the rest of the developed world when it comes to income.

The report says median income in Canada pulled into a tie with median U.S. income in 2010 and has likely surpassed it since then.

The findings are based on 35 years of surveys compiled by L-I-S which runs the “Luxembourg Income Study Database.”

The report cites meager pay raises for American workers -in comparison with Canada and Western Europe – for the USA falling behind – while other governments take agressive steps to raise the take-home pay of low and middle-income households by redistributing income.

The report says median income in Canada has climbed by 19.7 per cent since 2000 – which is far ahead of the 0.3 per cent increase in the U.S.

Statistics Canada says median single income in 2010 was just below $30,000. Median family income was $76,000.

American census figures show the 2011 median income of U.S. households was just over $50,000 annually.

The authors note that America is emerging from a catastrophic collapse of the housing market that wiped-out household wealth for millions of middle-class families.

But the data in the report shows Canada’s median earner has been gaining on America for decades – helped partly by a huge energy industry.

Deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal of CIBC World Markets believes the widening income gap in America is the number one economic problem facing the U.S.

He says: “It’s not that Canada is doing so great – it’s that the U.S. is doing much worse.”

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