Median Household Income
Median household income measures the total income (before tax) of all members of a household.
Why This Matters
Median household income shows how households are meeting their basic needs which is an important measure of economic growth. Although income in itself does not necessarily equate to greater well-being, higher levels of household income tend to allow for greater expenditures on goods and services to fulfill basic needs and improve well-being. Households with higher incomes are able to spend more on education, health, entertainment, recreation, transportation, and other goods and services than households with lower incomes.
Measurement and Limitations
Statistics Canada defines a household as a person or a group of persons who live in the same residence (Statistics Canada, 2010). It includes a single family, two or more families, a group of unrelated people, or a person living alone. Household income combines all of their incomes without deducting taxes or other expenditures.
This indicator identifies the number of households at different income levels, as well as the median income. The median income is the income level where half of households in the area have incomes above that amount and half have incomes below that amount. Median income is considered to be a better indicator than mean, or average, income because it is not affected by unusually high or low incomes (i.e., outliers).
Household income is useful for making relative comparisons of the number of households at different income levels; however it does not provide any absolute measure of “low income” or “poverty.”
Statistics Canada. 2017. Bridgewater, T [Census subdivision], Nova Scotia and Lunenburg, CTY [Census division], Nova Scotia (table). Census Profile. 2016 Census. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-316-X2016001. Ottawa. Released November 29, 2017.
Links for historical census data for this indicator can be found here:
Median Household Income in the Sustainable Development Goals
Click on the SDG to reveal more information
8. Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
Roughly half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day. And in too many places, having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escape from poverty. This slow and uneven progress requires us to rethink and retool our economic and social policies aimed at eradicating poverty.
A continued lack of decent work opportunities, insufficient investments and under-consumption lead to an erosion of the basic social contract underlying democratic societies: that all must share in progress. The creation of quality jobs will remain a major challenge for almost all economies well beyond 2015.
Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment. Job opportunities and decent working conditions are also required for the whole working age population.