Hennessy’s Index: February 2015

The Appeal of Middle Class Economics

Hennessy's Index

Hennessy’s Index is a monthly listing of numbers, written by the CCPA's Trish Hennessy, about Canada and its place in the world. For other months, visit: http://policyalternatives.ca/index

  • 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.

Sources for all factoids: Only one-in-ten Canadians feels financially secure (The Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy);  In Search of “The Middle Class”: Canadians Under Financial (The Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy); and Poverty In Canada: 1 In 7 Lived In Low-Income Families In 2012, StatsCan Says (The Canadian Press).

February 1, 2015