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Income status

Part A - Short definition:

Refers to the position of a person, economic family, person not in an economic family aged 15 years or over, or household in relation to one of the low income lines.

Part B - Detailed definition:

The income status can be defined in several ways.

Refers to the position of a person, economic family, person not in an economic family aged 15 years or over, or household in relation to one of the low income lines.

In the National Household Survey, definitions were created for six different lines. Five lines were defined by Statistics Canada:

  • low-income measure based on after-tax income (LIM-AT)
  • low-income measure based on before-tax income (LIM-BT)
  • low-income measure based on market income (LIM-MI)
  • low-income cut-off based on after-tax income (LICO-AT)
  • low-income cut-off based on before-tax income (LICO-BT).

One line was defined by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC):

  • HRSDC's Market Basket Measure (MBM).

Reported in:

2011

Reported for:

Population in private households and, depending on the definition used, economic families and persons not in economic families aged 15 years and over in private households or, private households.

Question number(s):

Derived variable

Responses:

Below the line - In low income;
At or above the line - Other;
Not applicable.

Remarks:

Four dimensions generally distinguish the low-income lines:

  • any geographical variations
  • aggregation or unit of analysis
  • the income variable to test
  • equivalence scale for units of different sizes

They are summarily presented in Table 3.1 Summary of low-income lines in the 2011 National Household Survey.

Full details are explained in each definition:

Members of a housheold all share the same income status for the LIM-AT, LIM-BT and LIM-MI.
Members of an economic family all share the same income status for LICO-AT and LICO-BT.

The low income concept does not apply to the full population in private households. For the purposes of low income statistics, units in the Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories and Nunavut and on Indian reserves were excluded (see Area of residence - On reserve for the full criteria).

The low income after-tax cut-offs were based on certain expenditure–income patterns which are not available from survey data for the entire population.

It is also felt that in certain areas, the consumption of hunting or fishing products, barter economies or substantial in-kind transfers may reduce the interpretability of income-based measures.

See also Prevalence of low income, Low-income gap and Severity of low income.

Refer to the data quality notes in the Income Reference Guide, National Household Survey, 2011.

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