Delta residents are bringing in some of the highest incomes in the Lower Mainland and Greater Vancouver, according to Statistics Canada census results released on Sept. 13.
According to the 2016 census, which reflects income levels in May 2015, Deltans have a median total income of $36,631 — with men making $45,742 and women making $29,865. The median income after tax is $32,534, up from $30,510 in 2010.
Comparing the median total income to other regions paints a picture of Delta as a fairly average municipality (Metro Vancouver’s median total income is $38,879, while the province’s is $33,012), however that picture changes when looking at household totals.
The median total income for private households in Delta is $92,300 — among the highest in the Lower Mainland. This is up more than $10,000 from the 2011 census, which saw a median total income of $80,874. One-person households earned a median income of $40,204 in 2015, while households with two or more people earned a median income of $107,307.
According to census data, more than 45 per cent of Delta households earn more than $100,000 a year, compared to 35 per cent for Metro Vancouver and 32 per cent for the province.
In Metro Vancouver, Delta households are fifth in total income.
The villages of Anmore, Belcarra and Lions Bay have the highest incomes in Metro Vancouver: they also have low populations and a greater proportion of residents in their mid-40s to mid-60s. Port Moody also comes in above Delta, with a median total income of $92,922.
The median total income for Delta families of two or more people can be broken down by whether the household includes children or not. Families without children or other relatives have a median total income $93,236. For families with children and other relatives (average size of 4.2 people), that increases to $127,019.
Single-parent families in Delta have a median total income of $63,791 — more than $10,000 higher than the provincial and Greater Vancouver medians.
Total income is counted before tax and deductions, and includes a number of sources: employment earnings from wages, tips, salaries and commissions; net income from self-employment, including unincorporated farm and non-farm activities; income from investments; pension payments; child-support; alimony; scholarships; and income from government sources such as social assistance, employment insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, disability income and Old Age Security benefits.
Delta’s median market income, which is total income minus the income from government sources, is $34,857 for individuals. The median for government transfers, which is all cash benefits received from the three levels of government, is $4,671.
This is similar to the provincial median of $4,592, but significantly higher than the Metro Vancouver median of $1,246.
This may be, in part, because Delta has slightly more people in retirement than Metro Vancouver. While 18.7 per cent of Deltans are 65 and older, only 15.7 per cent of people in Greater Vancouver fall into that age group.
Although Delta has a high median for government transfers, it has a comparatively low prevalence of low-income families.
The census identified low-income families on the basis of two different systems: the low-income measure and low-income cut-offs.
The low-income measure is a fixed percentage of the median household income, when adjusted for family size — a family of six had more needs than a family of two, for example. Low-income cut-offs are thresholds below which families will spend a larger share of their income on food, shelter and clothing than the average family.
In Delta, 9.7 per cent of families were considered low income based on the low-income measure; 12.6 per cent of kids ages zero to five were in that category, as were 8.9 per cent of adults ages 18 to 64 and 8.8 per cent of seniors 65 and over.
According to the low-income cut-offs, 6.9 per cent of Deltans were low income; 9.4 per cent of kids ages zero to 17, including 8.8 per cent of kids ages zero to five, were in this category, as well as 7 per cent of adults ages 18 to 64 and 3.5 per cent of seniors 65 and over.
These numbers are significantly lower than the provincial and Greater Vancouver averages, especially for children. Under the low-income measure, 18.9 per cent of kids in Greater Vancouver ages zero to 17 were low income — that same age group saw 15.2 per cent classified as low income under the low-income cut-offs.