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The American dream still exists—in Canada

Pursuing happiness in the Great White North.
Pursuing happiness in the Great White North.
Image: Reuters/Mark Blinch
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In a time of surging global income-inequality, one country’s gap between its very poorest and richest is shrinking.

According to new data from Statistics Canada, the poorest Canadian families have seen big gains in the past few years. Since 2013, the household wealth of the poorest 20% of Canadians has increased, in real terms, by 24%. Now, the average Canadian family’s net worth is $208,000 Canadian ($162,000 US).

The very richest Canadians, on the other hand, saw strong but smaller gains to their personal wealth.

The last three years have been great for Canadians across the wealth spectrum—the average household’s wealth rose by more than $90,000 inflation-adjusted Canadian dollars, or 13%.

The global financial crisis decimated wealth, so it’s normal to see a fairly large, widespread uptick in wealth holdings in the decade following.

Still, the fact that Canada’s poorest are seeing the largest relative gains is unique. Americans, across the board, are wealthier, in real terms, than they were in 2013. But the bottom 20%’s inflation-adjusted net worth grew half as fast as that of  the very wealthy’s. Those at or near the median US income—the middle class—did see the largest boosts, but they were closely followed by the richest 10% of Americans.