Wealth Distribution in Canada Activity (group activity)
Let’s take a look at how wealth changed over the last 30 years of the 20th century – 1970-1999. We need five volunteers to line up, side by side, shoulder to shoulder.
Canada did its first comprehensive national survey of assets, debts and wealth in 1970, then again in 1984, and in 1999. Wealth includes savings, property and investments, minus debt such as mortgages. Wealth does not include income from EI, CPP or welfare.
Each person represents 20% of family units in the country. Give out the five sheets, stating what each person says.
Let’s see what happens from 1970 to 1984.
Take one step forward or backward for every $10,000 gain or loss.
Changes to wealth between 1970 and 1984:
- The poorest 20 per cent gain just over $3,000 …thus take 1/3 (one third) of a step forward (a baby step).
- The next poorest 20 per cent gain about $15,000…thus take 11/2 (one and a half) steps forward.
- The middle 20 per cent gain about $48,000… take 5 steps forward.
- The upper middle 20 per cent gain $87,000…take 9 steps forward.
- The richest 20 per cent gain $305,000…take 31 steps forward.
Now, look at what happened in the next 15 years, going from 1984 to 1999:
- The poorest 20 per cent lose $5,000… take 1/2 (half) a step backwards.
- The next poorest 20 per cent gain just $800… move slightly forward (the length of your shortest toe).
- The middle 20 per cent gain $14,000…1 1/2 (one and a half) steps forward.
- The upper middle 20 per cent gain $70,000… 7 steps forward.
- The richest 20 per cent gain $390,000… 39 steps forward!