A number is never just a number: The appeal of middle-class economics

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52%

Percentage of Canadians who self-identify as middle class when asked to describe their "social and financial place in society," according to a November 2014 Pollara poll.

73%

Percentage of Quebecers who said they were middle class -- the province most likely to do so, followed by Alberta (57%), the Prairies (47%), B.C. (46%), Atlantic provinces (44%), and Ontario (43%).

57%

Percentage of men who said they think of themselves as middle class, compared to 47% of women.

67%

Percentage of Canadians earning between $60,000-$100,000 who said they're middle class. For context, the 2012 after-tax median income of all families consisting of two or more people was $71,700.

3%

Percentage of Canadians who considered themselves upper class, thank you very much.

36%

Percentage of Canadians who said they're working class, not middle class.

9%

Percentage of Canadians who considered themselves poor. For context, Statistics Canada said 16.3 per cent of children under 17 lived in low-income households in 2012.

82%

Percentage of self-described middle-class Canadians who own their home: home ownership is a very middle-class symbol in Canada.

49%

Percentage of Canadians who said they feel confident that they can move up the socio-economic ladder through hard work, though the answer differs greatly depending on where you sit along the income ladder.

20%

Percentage of self-ascribed poor Canadians who said they are confident in merit-based social mobility, compared to 47% of the working class, 53% of the middle class, and 73% of the very confident upper class.

45%

Percentage of Canadians who are optimistic about the future of Canada's middle class.

90%

Percentage of Canadians who don't feel financially secure.

(Source and source)

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative's Trish Hennessy has long been a fan of Harper Magazine's one-page list of eye-popping statistics, Harper's Index. Instead of wishing for a Canadian version to magically appear, she's created her own index -- a monthly listing of numbers about Canada and its place in the world. Hennessy's Index -- A number is never just a number -- comes out on the first of each month in rabble.ca.

Photo: Prentiss Riddle/flickr

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