The US Has 5 Times The Percentage of High Income Earners Compared to Canada

US vs Canada Income Distribution Explained in a Simple Graph.

In the graph below we compare American and Canadian Individual (as opposed to household) incomes.  In particular we were interested in the difference in income distributions.  To get to the point, you can see that:

  • If you earn more than USD $50K you are in the top 25% of Canadians but 35% of Americans
  • If you earn more than USD $100K you are in the top 2% of Canadians but 13% of Americans

In short, there are many more high income earners in the US than Canada.  Canada’s income distribution is much more evenly spread:

  • 54% of Canadians earning USD $10,000 to $50,000 /year compared to only 43% of Americans
  • Less than 2% of Canadians earn more than $USD $150,000 /year compared to 6% of Americans



It is worth noting that:

  1. we had to estimate a few of the numbers below because categories for the Canadian and US statistics are not a perfect match.  For instance, Canadian stats are in Canadian dollars which we had to convert to US dollars to make a fair comparison, but that meant that all of the Canadian numbers no longer fit nicely into the income categories shown below.
  2. were comparing 2016 Canadian data with 2017 American data, which we expect will still be highly accurate
  3. it is beyond the scope of this article to consider fundamental differences in the Canadian and American societies.  For example, health care insurance being a major required expenditure of Americans but not Canadians.
US Income # of Canadians in millions # of Americans in Millions Percentage of US Population Percentage of Canadian Population
 $ 0 to $10K 3.5 25.6 20% 20%
 $10K to $25K 5 22.8 18% 27%
 $25K to $50K 5 31.6 25% 27%
 $50K to $75K 2 19.5 15% 12%
 $75K to $100K 2 10.1 8% 11%
 $100K to $150K 0.3 9.8 8% 1.2%
 $150K to $200K 0.1 3.9 3% 0.6%
 $200K to $250K 0.1 1.7 1.4% 0.6%
 Above $250K 0.05 2.1 1.6% 0.6%

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