National Household Survey (NHS)

Total income of household, range

Total income refers to the sum of certain receipts (in cash and, in some circumstances, in kind) of the reporting unit during a specified reference period. The components used to calculate total income vary between:

- Statistical units of social surveys such as, persons, households, census families and economic families;

- Statistical units of business surveys such as enterprises, companies, establishments and locations; and

- Statistical units of the Canadian System of National Economic Accounts (CSNEA).

In the context of persons, households, census families and economic families, total income refers to monetary receipts from certain sources, before income taxes and deductions, during a specified reference period. It includes employment income from wages, salaries, tips, commissions and net income from self-employment (for both unincorporated farm and non-farm activities); income from government sources, such as social assistance, child benefits, employment insurance, Old Age Security pension, Canada or Quebec pension plan benefits and disability income; income from employer and personal pension sources, such as private pensions and payments from annuities and RRIFs; income from investment sources, such as dividends and interest on bonds, accounts, GIC's and mutual funds; and other regular cash income, such as child support payments received, spousal support payments (alimony) received and scholarships. The monetary receipts included are those that tend to be of a regular and recurring nature. It excludes one-time receipts, such as: lottery winnings, gambling winnings, cash inheritances, lump sum insurance settlements, capital gains and RRSP withdrawals. Capital gains are excluded because they are not by their nature regular and recurring. It is further assumed that they are less likely to be fully spent in the period in which they are received, unlike income that is regular and recurring. Also excluded are employer's contributions to registered pension plans, Canada and Quebec pension plans, and employment insurance. Finally, voluntary inter-household transfers, imputed rent, goods and services produced for barter, and goods produced for own consumption are excluded from this total income definition.

Household refers to a person or group of persons who occupy the same dwelling and do not have a usual place of residence elsewhere in Canada or abroad. The dwelling may be either a collective dwelling or a private dwelling. The household may consist of a family group such as a census family, of two or more families sharing a dwelling, of a group of unrelated persons or of a person living alone. Household members who are temporarily absent on reference day are considered part of their usual household.

The data for this variable are reported using the following measurements:

  • 'Amount of income' is expressed in Canadian dollars. The data presentation should specify any adjustments made, including whether the unit of measure is current dollars or constant dollars. Amount of income can range from the lowest negative number on the file to the maximum positive number on the file.

The data for this variable are reported using the following classifications and/or lists:

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