Canada had 1,681,969 millionaires at the end of 2020.
That’s according to Credit Suisse’s annual Global Wealth Report, which analyzes the household wealth of 5.2 billion people across the world.
The firm also predicts the number of Canadian millionaires will surge to nearly 2 million people by 2023. That’s a faster rate than the United States.
One of the biggest drivers creating Canadian millionaires is housing. Canada has a ludicrous housing market that shows no signs of slowing down. People who bought houses in certain areas many years ago have seen their main assets spike in value by many times — creating a new class of millionaires from average people.
Of course, there are lots of entrepreneurs and business people in Canada, and those who have become millionaires the “old fashioned” way — by inheriting it.
Read on for more information about millionaires in Canada.
What Is Considered a Millionaire in Canada?
If you bought a house in Toronto or Vancouver a while back, there’s a decent chance you’re sitting on a million-dollar asset, if you’ve paid it off. But does that make you a millionaire?
Credit Suisse says yes.
“Net worth, or ‘wealth,’ is defined as the value of financial assets plus real assets (principally housing) owned by households, minus their Debts,” it says in its 2021 Global Wealth Report.
Others define a “millionaire” as someone with at least $1 million in investable assets — meaning the money you can put into the stock market today. Someone with a million-dollar house but only $500,000 in their bank account wouldn’t count by that standard.
Do You Have to Be Born into Wealth to Become a Millionaire?
It helps, but no. A 2013 Pollara poll reported by the Financial Post found that about two-thirds of Canadian millionaires — nearly 70% — are self-made.
Now, this is a self-reported poll, so the millionaires may have twisted the truth a little bit. But those are still high numbers.
One thing that makes you much more likely to be a millionaire: is education. About 80% of Canadian millionaires have an undergraduate degree and 46% have a graduate or professional degree.
Just 10% have only a technical, trade, or apprenticeship degree. And only 9% of millionaires in Canada have a high school diploma or less education.
Another interesting thing found by the poll is that nearly half of Canadian millionaires are immigrants or first-generation Canadians, compared to just a third of American millionaires
Women made up a third of the millionaires surveyed, which is up from 21% three years earlier.
What Percentage of Canadians Are Millionaires?
About 4.5% of Canadians are millionaires. Since Canada has 1,681,969 millionaires and a total population of 36,991,981, that works out to 4.5%.
That's not many, but it's also a lot, depending on how you look at it. If you're in a waiting room with 20 people, odds are one of them is a millionaire.
The Credit Suisse report shows Canada holds about 3% of all millionaires in the world, despite holding just 0.46% of the world's population. So if you're trying to become a millionaire, the Great White North isn't a bad place to give it a go.
Which City In Canada Has the Most Millionaires?
The total number of millionaires living in Toronto is about 118,000, according to the Toronto Star. That beats out the number living in some other major cities around the world, such as Moscow and Chicago.
However, Toronto isn’t a bastion of only wealthy people. With a population of 2,794,356 in 2021, that means Toronto has fewer millionaires per capita than Canada as a whole at about 4.2%.
The richest community in Canada, according to Maclean’s, is West Vancouver, with an average household net worth of $4,454,424. Toronto is number 70 on the list, with an average of $941,973.
How Many Billionaires Are there in Canada?
According to the Wealth-X 2021 billionaire census, Canada has 53 billionaires. That’s tied for 12th in the world, with Brazil.
Canadian billionaires have done extremely well in the pandemic, while many others have struggled. That’s led some to call for a wealth tax. The Toronto Star has a good read about what that might mean.
The United States unsurprisingly has the most billionaires by far, with 927 according to Wealth-X. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have quite a bit of company at the top.
Who Are the Richest People In Canada?
Here are Canada’s top 10 richest people, according to Forbes’ 2022 billionaires ranking. All figures are in USD because that’s how Forbes does things.
You’ll notice some familiar names, like Lululemon’s Chip Wilson, David Thomson of Thomson Reuters, and the name British Columbians see on every other billboard and license plate holder: Jim Pattison.
But you might also notice some fresh faces. Changpeng Zhao is now head and shoulders above the number two spot on the list. He's the founder of Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. That’s good for number 19 on the world’s billionaires list.
One surprising face who's fallen off the list: Tobi Lutke, the founder of e-commerce giant Shopify. His net worth was $9.8 billion in 2021 but fell to $5 billion this year as Shopify's stock has taken a massive hit. That's enough to edge him out of the top 10.
- Changpeng Zhao ($65 billion)
- David Thomson & family ($49.2 billion)
- Jim Pattison ($12.2 billion)
- David Cheriton ($10.9 billion)
- Joseph Tsai ($8.4 billion)
- Anthony von Mandl ($8.4 billion)
- Mark Scheinberg ($5.3 billion)
- Chip Wilson ($5.3 billion)
- Alain Bouchard ($5 billion)
- Huang Chulong ($5 billion)
How Hard Is it to Become a Millionaire in Canada?
That’s a difficult question to answer because a lot of it depends on your situation. Can your parents give you a loan to start a business or put a down payment on a home? Then it might not be that hard.
People working minimum wage jobs just to get by can still accomplish it — but it’ll be a lot more difficult. A person needs to be diligent to save enough money to invest or put into business ventures while making sure to not put comfort at risk. This means pinching pennies on groceries, maybe losing the car if a person can set themselves up to live without it, using low-cost airlines if we do have to travel long distances, savings here and there all add up over time.
Fortunately, there are things we can do to make every dollar stretch further, and save for the future. Implementing a simple 50/30/20 budget can help us think more critically about how we spend money.
And investing wisely, for the long term, can set you up with a nest egg you never thought possible.
What is the average net worth in Canada?
The average net worth for all Canadians in 2019 was $329,900, according to Statistics Canada. But that number changes a ton depending on age. Here’s a breakdown:
- Under 35: $48,800
- 35 to 44: $234,400
- 45 to 54: $521,100
- 55 to 64: $690,000
- 65 and older: $543,000
What is the income of the top 5% in Canada?
As of 2019, the top 5% of income earners in Canada made an average of $236,400 a year, according to StatsCan.
The top 1% in Canada made an average of $513,700. You need to make at least $250,300 to be included in the top 1% of income earners in Canada.
The top 0.1% made $1,774,500 — and the top 0.01% made $6,411,800...
How much money do I need to retire comfortably in Canada?
Fortunately, our government has created a tool that will tell you exactly what you need to know. It’s a short survey on your retirement goals, current spending and income, and expected spending in retirement.
Once it crunches the numbers, you should have an idea of how much you’ll have to save right now to be comfy.
Canada has its fair share of millionaires.
And whether you started a successful business like Shopify or a massively popular crypto exchange like Binance; timed the housing market perfectly; were diligent with your savings and investments; or rode to the moon on Dogecoin, there are several ways to join their ranks.
I hope you've found this exploration of Canadian millionaires useful — and that it's given you an idea or two about how to become one yourself.