Distributions of Household Economic Accounts for Wealth (DHEA - W)

Detailed information for the first quarter 2023





Record number:


The Distributions of Household Economic Accounts (DHEA) for wealth provide information on the economic well-being and financial stability of households in Canada. The DHEA help address questions such as vulnerabilities and inequality across different groups of households and are an important complement to standard quarterly and annual indicators related to the economy.

Data release - July 4, 2023


The Distributions of Household Economic Accounts (DHEA) for wealth provide information on the economic well-being and financial stability of households in Canada. These data help address questions such as vulnerabilities and inequality across different groups of households.

Collection period: The collection period varies depending on the data sources used to compile the DHEA. In general, the DHEA are published approximately 120 days following the reference period.


  • Economic accounts
  • Financial and wealth accounts

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The Distributions of Household Economic Accounts (DHEA) are compiled according to the production and asset boundary defined by the 2008 System of National Accounts. The DHEA includes the economic activities of the household sector residents within the economic territory of Canada. It also includes all interactions (e.g. pensions paid by foreign governments and from non-resident households for purposes such as providing financial assistance).

Instrument design

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


This methodology does not apply.

Data sources

Data are extracted from administrative files and derived from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

Survey of Financial Security (Research Data Centre microdata file), various personal and household tax data.

Combining data from various administrative sources and derived macroeconomic indicators. Record linkage is done when available. Analysts evaluate each data source to resolve differences in concepts and measurement to derive the best indicator for this program.

Error detection

Micro and macro edits and imputation are conducted. Data confrontation is used to derive the most appropriate indicator.


The Survey of Financial Security (SFS) excludes collective dwellings from its sample; in particular, nursing homes and residences for seniors are not sampled in the SFS. In order to account for the institutionalized elderly population, an adjustment is made to the Distributions of Household Economic Accounts (DHEA) wealth distributions. Prior to the June 2020 DHEA release, the institutionalized elderly population was accounted for in the DHEA income and consumption tables since this population is included in the Social Policy Simulation Database and Model (SPSD/M), but not the DHEA wealth tables. Globally, the institutionalized elderly population amounts to less than 1.3% of the Canadian population.

In order to ensure comparability between with DHEA income and consumption tables and the DHEA wealth tables, the adjustment made for the institutionalized elderly population follows a similar methodology to that used in the SPSD/M. Since no wealth data is collected for the institutionalized elderly population, the adjustment made is based on the assumption that those living in nursing homes or seniors residences are similar to individuals not in institutions who are aged 65 or older, live alone and are not in the labour force. The adjustment amounts to increasing the weights of these individuals on the SFS. The amount by which the weights are adjusted is based on Census counts of the institutionalized elderly population by province, age and sex. In order to account for the fact that this population is not living in their own home, adjustments are also made to certain asset and debt variables, such as those related to the principal residence.


In order to produce distributional information aligned with the System of National Accounts (SNA) concepts, Statistics Canada follows the basic steps recommended by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Expert Group on Disparities within the National Accounts (EG DNA). These steps include lining up the relevant components from the micro data sources to the wealth variables from the National Balance Sheet Accounts (NBSA), and scaling the micro data totals for various wealth items to the NBSA. Through this process, various distributors can be identified to allocate national accounts totals using information available from the micro-data sources by household demographic and socio-economic characteristic, such as by province, age group of the major income earner for the household, and household disposable income quintile.

The Survey of Financial Security (SFS) is the main source of distribution information for the Distributions of Household Economic Accounts (DHEA) for wealth. However, the SFS has been an occasional survey in the past and is triennial since 2016. This leaves gaps that need to be filled in order to produce a series of distributions in non-survey years. The methodology for deriving these distributions is two-fold, with a simpler, more direct approach being used in survey years and a calibration-based modelling approach in non-survey years.

The methodology used to populate the tables in survey years consists of reweighting the SFS, scaling to National Balance Sheet Accounts (NBSA) totals, and then obtaining distribution estimates from the resulting data set.

The next step is to derive wealth measures for non-survey years using a modelling approach. After this is done, estimates for survey years and non-survey years are put together and adjustments are made to the estimates. First, estimates in survey years are adjusted in order to avoid introducing turning points when compared with the modelled estimates in adjacent non-survey years. Then adjustments for coherence and for the Northern territories of Canada are applied.

Once a base set of estimates is created for each DHEA distribution category, imputations are applied to estimate populations not covered by the SFS, including households residing in the northern territories and the elderly institutionalized population. As well, starting with the 2020 reference year, quarterly projections of DHEA wealth estimates for each distribution category are created using household liability data from a private consumer credit rating agency.

To ensure consistency of the quarterly trends in household liabilities observed from the credit registry data with the associated trends in non-financial assets to which those liabilities relate, corresponding adjustments are also applied to quarterly real estate asset values using distributional information from third parties on the housing market and spending on consumer goods.

As well, to more accurately reflect sub-annual demographic trends in the household population that are aligned with wealth and income, household counts benchmarked to distributions from Demography Division as of the 2019 reference year are grown on a quarterly basis starting in reference year 2020. Quarterly household counts are created using data available from the credit rating agency and the Social Policy Simulation Database and Model (SPSD/M), and are used to present wealth estimates by distribution category on an average dollars per household basis.

Quality evaluation

Estimates from the Distributions of Household Economic Accounts (DHEA) for wealth are benchmarked to aggregates that are aligned with the most recent international standards through the Macro-Economic Accounts (MEA). The benchmark aggregates from the National Balance Sheet Accounts (NBSA) used to produce DHEA estimates are derived from the most complete and high quality data sources available, including administrative data files from the Canada Revenue Agency, household survey files, as well as information from pension funds, financial institutions and government public accounts. Each of these sources, as well as the way in which they are used and combined, are a potential source of difference between the micro- and macro-level data.

Data are analyzed for time series consistency, links to current economic events, issues arising from the source data, and finally with respect to coherence.

Within each DHEA distribution category, the values of each asset and liability subcategory are estimated directly from the Survey of Financial Security (SFS) as well as from an external credit rating agency, either using variables that correspond directly with the associated MEA concept, or indirectly using proxy variables.

As part of the DHEA data quality assessment process, a number of adjustments are applied to the distributions by asset and liability category at the micro and/or macro levels to minimize discrepancies with economic and demographic trends observed from other data sources, such as from other administrative data.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Revisions - Statistical revisions are carried out in order to incorporate the most recent information from surveys, taxation statistics, public accounts, censuses, etc.

Data are released approximately 120 days after the reference period. Estimates for each quarter are revised when those for subsequent quarters of the same year are published. At the time of release of third quarter estimates for each year, revisions are generally made back three years. The Distributions of Household Economic Accounts (DHEA) are not normally revised again except when comprehensive revisions are carried out.

Seasonal adjustment - Quarterly DHEA data series are unadjusted for seasonal variation.

Data accuracy

For each of the DHEA tables, the total values of net worth and of each of the asset and liability sub-categories for each distribution category are estimated from SFS using the scaled values and the DHEA-specific weights.

The precision of the DHEA estimates in survey years is inherently linked to the precision of the SFS estimates. Measures of sampling error in the form of coefficients of variation (CVs) for SFS years are in Tables 5 to 15 of "Distributions of Household Economic Accounts, estimates of asset, liability and net worth distributions, 2010 to 2020, technical methodology and quality report".


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