What is this metric and why is it important?

Income distribution by decile shows us how much income people of different income levels in our country earn. Like Gini, it is a measure of how unequal a distribution is, but it is somewhat more detailed.

How is Canada doing?

  • In the 1990s, Canada saw a sharp increase in the portion of income received by the top 10%; at the beginning of the decade they earned 25%, and at the end they earned 30%. 
  • The distribution does not vary significantly by province.

Metric discussion

Income distribution by decile is an exercise in which we order all individuals by their income and divide them into 10 equal groups. We then ask: What percentage of the income earned in Canada goes to each of these groups? We can also look at these portions year by year, to see who has been gaining over time and whose share of the pie has been declining.


While more detailed than Gini, as it shows where in the distribution the disparities lie, this exercise still does not ask who earns more than others. For that, we have to look at income by demographic and other characteristics.

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