Who Lives On The Median Income?

Looking over at Stats Canada this week, you can see that they have published a report on the Income of Individuals for 2005. The article says:

The median total income of individuals amounted to $25,400 in 2005, up 1.9% from 2004 after adjusting for inflation. This is the largest annual increase in median total income of individuals since 2001. The median is the point where one half of incomes are higher and the other half are lower.

This is one of those, good news, and head scratching news. The good news is that the median total income has gone up by 1.9% so that is a good thing (it would be bad if it had gone down). The head scratcher part of it, is the question of just who is living on this income level?

The median employment income is a little higher at $26,300, but that again seems pretty darn low.

If you have a couple that together are making $52,600 that is a bit better, but again, that seems low.

Now let us bear in mind what the mathematical term Median actually means. Do not confuse Median for Mean or Arithmetic Average , which is:

Mathematical Mean

Pardon me? Add all your numbers up and then divide it by the total number of numbers you added. This article does not mention Mean or Average income, it talks about Median.

What is Median?

What is Median

Now THAT looks complicated doesn’t it? OK, what Median is, simply is the middle value in a list of numbers. This middle number may be nowhere near the average of all of the numbers, so this Median means half of all Canadians either make or earn less than $25,400.00 and half earn more than that.

What does this number mean, in my opinion is that the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” is widening at an alarming rate these days.


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