The Evolution of Wealth Inequality in Canada
Using data from the Assets and Debts Survey of 1984 and the Survey of Financial Security of 1999, the authors document the evolution of wealth inequality in Canada between 1984 and 1999. Among their principal findings: wealth inequality increased overall, and was associated with substantial declines in real average and median wealth for recent immigrants and young couples with children. Real median and average wealth fell among families whose major income recipient was aged 25–34, and increased among those whose major income recipient was aged 55 and over. Factors that may have contributed to the rise in wealth inequality (which cannot be quantified with existing data sets) include differences in the growth of inheritances, inter vivos transfers, rates of return on savings, and number of years worked full-time. In particular, rates of return on savings may have increased more for wealthy family units than for their poorer counterparts as a result of the booming stock market during the 1990s.