This week’s map shows us 2005 median incomes for married-couple families in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Don’t let that long topic get to you: although Statistics Canada can sometimes get a little difficult with their language, it’s not too hard to decipher:
2005 median income – This is not the average income for the tract but the income that separates the top half of reported incomes from the lower half of incomes in the area. This is a commonly used value when considering income because it prevents incredibly high and incredibly low incomes from affecting a stated average.
married-couple families – StatCan records income for different family types. There are lone-parent families, of which “female-lone parent” and “male-lone parent” are subsets. StatCan also lists dual-parent families (my term). In these are two distinct kinds: married-couple families and common-law families. However, Statistics Canada does not combine these values for us into one field as they do with lone-parent families, so we must consider them individually.
Two interesting patterns emerge on this map. The first pattern is the manner in which lower median incomes become prevalent as one moves west to east. The further into old Halifax County one drives, the lower the median income will be. Presumably, lower rural-based incomes and dual-parent families who hold only one reported income between them account for this. Note, however, that in rural western Halifax county, we nonetheless find higher incomes: the incomes over extreme western Halifax are nearly double the incomes in extreme eastern Halifax.
The second pattern is the high incomes to be found on Halifax Peninsula and along the Bedford Basin. These incomes should be expected, given the socio-economic patterns we see in these areas (e.g.: highly educated, fully employed households). What is of interest, though, is the proximity of Halifax’s highest median income to its lowest:
Highest income for married couples in Halifax:
- Tract 2050005.00 (which I’ve called South End-Gorsebrook), lying on the peninsula’s shores: $194,622
Lowest income for married couples in Halifax:
- Tract 2050004.01 (which I’ve called South End-Railyards): $36,179.
These tracts, nearly side-by-side one another on the Halifax Peninsula, house two distinct populations that are tied at the hip – the student underclass studying and working at the post-secondary schools and hospitals that dot the south end, and the professional class that is employed by these institutions. I’m painting with broad strokes here, of course, but it does serve as a little bit of context to explain how these two different income levels lie within only two or three kilometres of one another.