This article examines changes in the wealth of Canadian families (i.e. total family assets minus total family debt) over the period from 1999 to 2012, with a particular focus on changes across income quintiles. The paper also examines changes in the concentration of wealth across income quintiles, as well as the characteristics of families with low income and no wealth. In both 2012 and 1999, between 3% and 4% of Canadian families had low income and no wealth.
Younger families, the recently immigrated, lone-parent families and unattached individuals were more likely to be in this situation. Between 1999 and 2012, the total wealth of Canadian families rose by $4.17 trillion (in constant 2012 dollars). Of this amount, families in the top income quintile gained $2.02 trillion, largely because of increases in the value of employer pension plans and other non-real estate assets.