Chinese Canadians Make More Than The General Population?

sailor (Ocean & Mountain)

Now for a number you won’t hear from StatsCan anytime soon, a breakdown of Chinese-Canadian incomes. The popular Chinese-Canadian forum Rolia.net conducted a survey on income, and had a massive response. The sampling was so large, we thought we’d compare it to general incomes across Canada. Turns out if you’re Chinese-Canadian, chances are stacked in your favor that you are one of the higher income earners in Canada.

Chinese-Canadian Incomes Vs. All Canadians (Gross)ChineseCanadiansAllCanadiansNo IncomeLess Than $20k$20K to $40k$40k to $60k$60K to $80K$80K to $100K$100k to $150k$150K+Other06121824Percent
Income Chinese Canadians All Canadians
No Income 8.6 0
Less Than $20k 4.5 13.1
$20K to $40k 5.7 18.3
$40k to $60k 9 16
$60K to $80K 11.9 12.7
$80K to $100K 16.5 10.8
$100k to $150k 23.2 16.1
$150K+ 15.1 13
Other 5.4 0

Source: Rolia.net, Statistics Canada.

Chinese-Canadians Are Overrepresented In Higher Income Brackets

When it comes to higher income brackets, Chinese-Canadians are overrepresented compared to the general population. For those that don’t know, overrepresented means proportionally higher than average. In the $80k – $100k per year income bracket, the survey found that 16.5% of Chinese-Canadians fell into this category. The general population (which also includes Chinese-Canadians), saw 10.8% of all incomes fall into this category. In the $100k – $150k per year bracket, the gap was even wider. 23.2% of Chinese-Canadians fit into this category, while just 16.1% of all Canadians fit into the category. In the $150k+ per year bracket, the gap contracts just a little. 15.1% of Chinese-Canadians fit into this category, while 13% of all Canadians were in this range.

The gap adds up to a lot when looked at as a whole. Around 54.8% of working Chinese-Canadians earn over $80k in gross income per year. To contrast, only 39.9% of all Canadians do. If you’re an analyst, you also probably noticed something about those numbers – the “All Canadians” numbers include Chinese-Canadians. This means the numbers skew slightly, and the odds of earning more than $80k for non-Chinese-Canadians is slightly lower when looked at in total.

Chinese-Canadians Are Underrepresented In Lower Income Brackets

When it comes to lower income brackets, Chinese-Canadians are underrepresented compared to the general population. The number of Chinese-Canadians that earn less than $20k per year is just 4.5%. To contrast, 13.1% of all Canadians fit in this category. In the $20k – $40k income bracket, the gap was widest. Only 5.7% of Chinese-Canadians fit in this bracket, while 18.3% of all Canadians do. The gap tapers a little in the $40k – $60k per year bracket. 9% of Chinese-Canadians fit in this category, while 16% of all Canadians fit in this range. The $60k – $80k income bracket is the closest. 11.9% of Chinese-Canadians fit here, compared to 12.7% of the general population.

Once again, all of these numbers add up to a pretty big gap. Only 31.1% of Chinese-Canadians earned under $80k per year. To contrast, 39.9% of all Canadians fit in the same income brackets. Once again, the numbers do have a slight skew since “All Canadians” includes Chinese-Canadians.

Data Explained

Before you dismiss this as “just a survey,” let’s run through the issues on both sets of data – both Rolia’s survey and Statistics Canada. The Rolia survey has 2,363 respondents when we took a snapshot. That seems relatively small, until you realize that Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey (LFS), the primary way we determine unemployment numbers and wages, is 50,000 people. Considering Chinese-Canadians are roughly 4% of the population, a sample size that’s 4.7% of the LFS is a pretty large sample.

Just because Rolia doesn’t have a 3,000 person workforce like Statistics Canada, doesn’t mean the results are less accurate. Actually, both sets of data have issues and leave us with questions. Such as, 5.4% of respondents on the Rolia survey said they made “other.” Not no income or negative income, other. I’ve never heard of a salary negotiation where someone asked “what income are you expecting?” and someone reply “other.” Have you?

Likewise, the Statistics Canada survey marks no income as “not reliable” – and doesn’t give a number. Yay! All Canadians have income! Not exactly. It just means not enough people told a stranger on the phone that they didn’t make any money this year. The only advantage to the Statistics Canada number is they spent hours structuring a geographic sampling of regions. So the geography is known, so that’s a plus.

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Photo: Vladimir Megan.

2017-6-27 -05:00
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