If you live in Canada in 2022, skyrocketing inflation and surges in the cost of living may have you paying close attention to income and your individual net worth. You may also be aware that your net worth can vary wildly depending on where you live in Canada. While you don’t want to get too bogged down by comparisons, here are general guidelines for median net worths for each province, according to Statistics Canada (StatCan) and their 2019 data (released in 2021).
But before we dive in, let’s first break down what this data means.
What is net worth?
Your net worth is the value of all the assets that you own (such as a car or property) minus all your debts (such as a student loan).
For these purposes, the calculation is pretty simple:
Total Assets – Total Liabilities = Net Worth
What is median net worth?
In stats terms, a median net worth is the net worth right in the centre of all the other net worths (if you recall math class, in a series of 99 numbers, the median is the 50th number). In StatCan terms, this means that once all the net worths are collected and listed, the median net worth is the one in the dab-smack middle, meaning that there is an equal number of people on either side of that value.
This net worth is often used because it gives a more realistic view of a group’s financial situation, as other averages would be skewed by top earners who hold a disproportionate amount of wealth, for example.
If your net worth is higher than the median average noted, it means you are faring better than 50 per cent of your peers in your province. If your net worth is lower, don’t despair. There are many factors that impact a person’s net worth and this is not a reflection of your inherent value as a human. At the end of the day, if your lifestyle works for you, this is all that counts. And as you can see, sometimes factors that are wildly out of anyone’s control impact net worth (rising housing costs, here’s looking at you).
What are assets and liabilities?
Your assets are your investments and possessions you own that hold monetary value. In other words, any investments, savings, stocks, property and more that belong to you legally.
Liabilities, on the other hand, are any debts you owe and that you need to repay (i.e. student loan, car or mortgage loans, etc.).
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10. New Brunswick: Median net worth is $185,000
Home to cities like St. John and Moncton, as well as natural attractions like the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick is also the province with the lowest median net worth in all of Canada. However, this fact doesn’t necessarily paint the full picture when it comes to the standard of living, because Moncton is considered one of the best cities to buy your first home in Canada, best places to raise your kids and two additional cities also feature on our list of best places to work remotely in Canada. Additionally, the province’s jobs come by way of its major industries in forestry, mining and fishing.
9. Prince Edward Island: Median net worth is $211,400
PEI is known as the birthplace of Lucy Maude Montgomery, and the setting for the classic Anne of Green Gables book, as well as its amazing seafood, and gorgeous sandy beaches (and, subsequently, some truly stunning beach-front homes). It also ranks in the ninth spot when it comes to median net worths across the country, and its major economies mix traditional resources like agriculture and fisheries with tourism, while recent advancements have also introduced biosciences and advanced manufacturing to the province.
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8. Quebec: Median net worth is $237,800
The Canadian province with the most European feel is also the eighth on this list when it comes to its population’s median net worth. Francophone culture runs deep in Quebec, and you can see this culture uniquely expressed in the music, film, food and culture across the province. But like many other developed economies, its primary industries include the services sector, including its most productive sectors like aerospace, finance and transportation. Bonus: Nine out of the 20 cheapest cities to live in Canada are in La Belle Province.
7. Newfoundland and Labrador: Median net worth is $247,300
Another Atlantic province on this list, Newfoundland and Labrador lands in the seventh spot with its median net worth. Its primary industries consist of mining, manufacturing, fishing, pulp and paper and hydro-electricity. With a reputation for friendly and colourful personalities and equally colourful houses, the province is also renowned for its beautiful, untamed landscapes – proof that it’s not always just about the money.
6. Nova Scotia: Median net worth is $257,900
Sliding in the sixth spot, Nova Scotia is a great destination for Canadians looking to see more of this land, or to relocate. With a thriving food and social scene, it also has some beautiful scenery, high tides, lobster, fish, blueberries and more. Its primary industries accordingly include logging and fishing.
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5. Manitoba: Median net worth is $295,700
Venturing westward across the country and towards the prairies, Manitoba lands in the dab-smack middle and fifth spot when it comes to median net worth. Like many provinces already on this list, Manitoba’s economy is rooted in natural resources, like mining and forestry, but also in agriculture. If you live in Manitoba, you’ll also be happy to know that Winnipeg – the province’s capital and biggest city – is also known for having affordable rent when compared to some of the other major cities across the country.
4. Alberta: Median net worth is $317,300
Perhaps surprisingly, Alberta actually falls lower in ranking on this list than its eastern neighbour, Saskatchewan. Alberta’s diverse economy spans from fossil energy, to forestry, agriculture, education, tourism, manufacturing, finance and more. The province is famous for its natural beauty (Banff National Park, just to name one example), bustling nightlife, the Calgary Stampede and so much more, so these are just some of the things you can enjoy if you call the province home.
3. Saskatchewan: Median net worth is $330,500
By now you can likely guess which provinces hold the top spot for median net worth, but Saskatchewan may strike you as a surprise given its population has a slightly higher median net worth than Alberta. Dubbed “Canada’s Breadbasket,” Saskatchewan is synonymous with the prairies and agriculture. But it’s also an up-and-coming tech hub, and still very much a major player in the oil and gas, and forestry industries.
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2. British Columbia: Median net worth is $423,700
The fourth-largest economy by province in Canada is also the second on this list when it comes to median net worth. Worth noting is that the leap between third and fourth spots is the largest jump on this list, and by nearly $100,000. One possible explanation may be the rising cost of real estate (as you may recall, net worth also considers any property and other assets a person owns – so if the value of a person’s property goes up exponentially, so does a their net worth). But other than its high cost of housing and general cost of living, British Columbia is also famous for its laid-back vibe, beautiful coast, beaches, food scene and scenery. BC’s economy centres on transportation, energy, health and education, forestry and more.
1. Ontario: Median net worth is $434,500
Perhaps not surprisingly, Ontario takes the first spot on this list, and much like British Columbia, this makes sense when you consider that some of the hottest housing markets in the country are located in the province’s (and country’s) largest and most populous city – Toronto. Beyond that, the province is also known for being the largest economy in Canada. Its service sector makes up the biggest portion of its economy, in addition to high tech, agriculture and manufacturing. Whether you’re a city-dweller or in search of wide, open spaces, Ontario has a nice mix of both, and much like British Columbia and Quebec, its biggest cities have a food scene worth writing home about.