Census: income grows in Prince Albert, but poverty challenges remain

Prince Albertans have gotten richer since 2005, but not as quickly as other Saskatchewan people.

That’s one insight from the latest census release on income and poverty, which also showed Prince Albert leading all Saskatchewan cities in its proportion of low-income residents – despite a notable improvement.

Statistics Canada released the data early Wednesday morning. It put Saskatchewan first among the ten provinces for median income growth between 2005 and 2015. But Prince Albert lagged about nine points behind that sprightly growth rate.

Take the poorest half of Prince Albertans and find the resident who makes the most among them. That person made $35,862 before taxes – the median total income for the city. That’s less than the median income for Saskatchewan as a whole, which came in at $38,299, but more than what StatsCan reported for the nation as a whole.

Calculated in constant 2015 dollars, that middle-of-the-range Prince Albertan’s earnings rose 27.6 per cent, trailing Saskatchewan’s nation-leading growth rate of 36.2 per cent. Canada’s median individual income grew by 12.7 per cent, before taxes.

Prince Albert is also home to the highest proportion of low-income people among the 15 largest communities in the province. StatsCan found that 10.5 per cent of Prince Albert residents fall below the low-income cut off – the level at which families need to spend about two thirds of their money on necessities like food, clothing and shelter.

That’s still a major improvement since the 2005 census, when 17.3 per cent of the city made less than that threshold. In fact, that 6.8-point drop outpaced the province’s four-point reduction, suggesting that Prince Albert is doing relatively well at fighting poverty.

For more on this story, see the September 15 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.