Oh, Canada! Americans' Northern Neighbors Are Now Richer

Canadians richer than us?
The U.S. may bill itself as the land of opportunity, but right now, Canadians are making out better.

That's according to a column in the Toronto-based Globe and Mail, which reports, "Over the past five years, net worth per Canadian household has exceeded net worth per American household (total combined value of liquid and real estate assets minus debt) for the first time."

According to Environics Analytics, a Canadian marketing and analytical services firm, the average household net worth in Canada was $363,202 in 2011; the figure for the U.S. was $319,970. That means the average Canadian household is more than $40,000 richer than its American counterpart.

"And these are not 60-cent dollars," The Globe and Mail notes, "but Canadian dollars more or less at par with the U.S. greenback." Making matters worse for the recession-ravaged U.S., these figures do not take into account the public sector debt that will someday come due for citizens of both countries; government debt as a percentage of GDP is higher in the U.S. than it is in Canada.

The reasons for the disparity in wealth are as depressing for Americans as the news itself: Instead of "a sudden surge of productivity or entrepreneurial genius" north of the border, the paper cites "the 2008 economic crisis and the collapse of the U.S. housing market."

Indeed, the crash in U.S. home prices means that Canadians own real estate that is on average worth $140,000 more than that held by Americans. They also own twice as much property and have nearly four times as much equity in it after mortgages are taken into account.

One small bright spot for residents of the beleaguered U.S.: Americans still have greater liquid assets than Canadians. But even this statistic serves mainly to underscore the magnitude of the housing market catastrophe.

Public policy may be in part to blame: As The Globe and Mail points out, "Canadian leaders rejected mortgage interest deductibility," making it somewhat harder for citizens to get so deep into mortgage debt. Moreover, subprime mortgages -- those ignes fatui of the American economy -- did not catch on in Canada the way they did here.

All of which leaves our "thrifty, socialist neighbors to the north" -- who have long eschewed both the dynamism and the risk of the American system in favor of higher taxes, greater regulation and a sturdier social safety net -- looking pretty clever right now. Still, it's worth observing, as The Globe and Mail does, that Canadians are "taking on more debt than [their] supposedly more spendthrift American cousins."

Early this year, it was reported that economic mobility -- the centerpiece of America's self-image -- is actually greater in Canada and Western Europe than in the U.S. According to The New York Times, "The mobility gap has been widely discussed in academic circles, but a sour season of mass unemployment and street protests has moved the discussion toward center stage."

"It's becoming conventional wisdom that the U.S. does not have as much mobility as most other advanced countries," said one economist. "I don't think you'll find too many people who will argue with that."

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A reverse mortgage allows seniors to convert their home equity into cash without having to sell their home or pay additional housing bills.


June 29 2013 at 4:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fox News is most assuredly not banned in Canada. Our neighbors, like us, enjoy the privilege of freedom of speech. Those who rail against the alleged fabrications from Fox should remember two things: Fox has never had to take down a bogus "news" story such as the exploding GM pickup trucks and the forged memo produced by CBS and Dan Rather. The second thing to remember is this: Even though you might occasionally learn something, there's no need for you to tune in Fox.
You never heard Fox tell you that its was banned in Canada, did you?

August 20 2012 at 11:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm not surprised. Canada has laws that forbid media outlets that spread propaganda and misinformation. They don't allow, for example, fox news into their country. The result is that Canadians are well informed citizens. Also, their crime rate is much lower than ours due to a lack of Conservative "hate radio." It's all about common sense. The Canadian Conservative party isn't trying to destroy the country's middle class for the sake of rewarding the wealthy. For that matter, they see health care as a human right, not just a perk for the rich.

Hats off to you Canada! I'm proud of my Canadian heritage! Stay the course with your socialist programs and your country will thrive and prosper.

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

July 30 2012 at 11:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

so why is this depressing I don't worry or care about Canadas' wealth What we have to be the wealthiest people on the planet for what reason fix the scandals loop holes and crooked corporate CEO's and government on the take and we'll be fine

July 19 2012 at 6:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes, sure.... They tap into their natural resources and use them wisely. We, on the other hand shut down access to our natural resources, borrow from China, throw literally milions upon millions into these un-proven green energy programs like Solyndra that go belly up after all of the tax payer money is gone. All the while, the Canadians look upon us as the fools we have became and laugh all the way to the bank. President Obama's policies are a huge part of the problem!!!!

July 19 2012 at 6:02 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Time for BO to go !

July 19 2012 at 6:02 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Jay Bull

It's Bush's fault. Nothing will ever be BHO's fault. Never. He is a God. He can do no wrong. We need only scoop up the ground upon which he walks. It, of course, as he and his party will have you believe, turns to gold.

July 19 2012 at 5:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Jay Bull's comment

You know Jay, it is Bush's fault... He was in the position of power and decision making and failed... Yet you blame Obama who is only trying to fix the mess... He is not perfect nor is he a God, nor do any of us beleive he is a miricle worker, however given what he had to deal with he has done as well if not better than just about anyone else in the same position.... Think of it this way... If you take a vase and throw it on the floor and break it into a million pieces, you cannot place blame on the person who is trying to put it back together... And yet another example, if you total a car, you cannot yell at the mechanic who is desperately trying to fix it, as it was you who wrecked it... As a footnote, it was a republican who was at the helm of the last depression, and a dem cleaned it up... As they say history sadly repeats itself...

July 19 2012 at 6:08 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to John's comment
Bond Oman

John , the Dems controlled the house and senate in W's last two years in office and controlled both in BO first two yeras . The banking crises was caused by Freddie giving loans to whoever could breathe . Freddie was headed by Barney Frank and Ron . BO has NEVER signed the front of a check only the back . He is an Arogant joke!

July 19 2012 at 8:37 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down

Freddi never gave out a single mortgage loan to any person. Barney Frank was not in charge of Freddy or Fanny. Both these agencies purchased loans that were originated by private companies and banks.

July 19 2012 at 11:33 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down

Is that 'brown smelly gold' ????

July 19 2012 at 9:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I have often said that a nations wealth is what comes out of the ground and Canada is a prime example. They are not as sqeamish as the USA about utizing their natural resources to make a better life for their citizens.
On top of that they dont have our immigration problem. and its interesting to note that they avoided the foollishness of the subprime mortgage which was entirely a Democrat invention. It would be interesting to compare the rate at which Canadians accumulate equity in their homes during the life of their mortgages with that of the USA which is exceedingly slow. During the first 2/3 rds of a mortgage in the USA payments are mostly are credited towards interest. Equity doesnt accumulate til the final years.

July 19 2012 at 5:46 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The reason they are now better off than Americans is because for the past 4 years b.h.o. hasn;t been their leader. That better change in 2012.

July 19 2012 at 5:37 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

wonderful, lets build a road from mexico to canada send all the illegal immigrants up there. Canuks get their jobs taken out from under their belts by bunch wetbacks sending all their money back to mexico gonna make them really poor really fast just like us

July 19 2012 at 5:31 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Rattler's comment

I think you hit on something here good job

July 19 2012 at 6:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Make that an Obama train.... no need to have more unlicensed drivers on the road without insurance. Barry... build the train tracks & buy a train.

July 19 2012 at 9:53 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply