A number is never just a number: Middle-class angst

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 Percentage of Canadians who self-identify as middle class. That's down from almost 70 per cent in 2002. (Source)


The decline in median market household income between 2008 and 2011. In 2008 median market family was $49,300. (Source: CANSIM 202-0201)


Percentage increase in the market income of the richest 20 per cent of Canadian households in 2011 compared to 2006. (Source)



Percentage drop in the market income of the poorest 20 per cent of Canadian households in 2011 compared to 2006. (Source)


Percentage increase in the number of Canadians who were working for the minimum wage in 2012 compared to 2006. That's a large increase and it doesn't appear to be going down post-recession. (Source)


Share of income gains from economic growth that Canada's richest 1 per cent enjoyed between 1997 and 2007. (Source)


Number of Canada's big cities in which the bottom 90 per cent of Canadians make less today than they did in 1982. Vancouver's bottom 90 per cent saw a drop in income of $4,300, Toronto's lost $1,900 and Montreal's lost $224. (Source)


Percentage of Canadians' household incomes that was taken up by household debt in 2012. That amount of household debt is worse than in the U.S. or U.K. (Source)


Percentage of Canadians' household income that was taken up by mortgage debt in 2012. That's a big increase from 82 per cent in 2006. Canada's mortgage debt is rising while Americans' is dropping. (Source)


Canada tops the list of countries with the worst (that is, highest) price-to-rent ratio ­­-- an indicator some economists interpret as having an overvalued housing market. (Source)


Percentage of Canadians working in the private sector who are covered by a traditional (defined benefit) pension plan. That's down considerably from 28.6 per cent in 1982, leaving far more Canadian workers without an adequate retirement cushion. (Source)


Percentage of Canadians who think Canada is in some kind of recession. (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: fdecomite/flickr

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