The median income of households in Port Alberni went up amid the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new census data.
Statistics Canada published its latest report from the 2021 census on July 13, The new data shows that in 2020 the median after-tax income of households in Port Alberni was $61,200. This is an increase of 14.2 percent from $53,600 in 2015.
This follows the national trend, as the data show that Canadian incomes were 9.8 per cent higher during the early pandemic than five years earlier.
Statistics Canada attributes part of the increase to multiple government relief programs, which offered income assistance to workers who lost their jobs or worked reduced hours as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nationally, the number of persons aged 15 and over with no or low employment income increased substantially in 2020 compared with before the pandemic in 2019. In Port Alberni, 1,510 more people in 2020 than in 2019 had no employment income, while 1,175 fewer people had employment income between $1 and $19,999 and 430 fewer people had employment income between $20,000 and $59,999.
Census data also shows that 80.5 percent of persons 15 years and older in Port Alberni had income from COVID-19 government income support and benefits. Meanwhile, 27.7 percent received income from replacement benefits.
The 2021 census data will be released in batches throughout the year. The next scheduled release date is Aug. 17, 2022, which will offer a snapshot of linguistic diversity and the use of English and French in Canada.