Non-white seniors struggle more in retirement, report suggests

Analysis of data indicates significant inequalities in retirement income and savings between white and other groups in Canada

Non-white seniors struggle more in retirement, report suggests

The financial imbalances between white and other groups of Canadians doesn’t end with just income and wealth, but also extends to retirement security and preparedness.

That’s according to a recent report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), which draws on 2016 census data.

In their analysis, researchers from the CCPA found that white Canadians benefit from the greatest income security just as they have a variety of retirement income sources. The share of retirement income derived from private pension sources such as RRSPs and registered pension plans, the researchers found, amounted to 33% for white Canadians – the highest among all the groups studied.

By their analysis, the average income of a white Canadian senior is $42,800, which is 25% more than for the average Indigenous senior and 32% above what racialized Canadian seniors get on average. White seniors also showed the lowest poverty rate at 13.7%, compared to 21.5% among Indigenous seniors and 19.8% for racialized seniors.

While the average retirement income for Indigenous seniors is $32,200, there are variations among different groups. Public pensions make up nearly half (47%) of Indigenous seniors’ income, while private pension sources represent just 25%.

Looking at racialized seniors, the report found their average income is even lower at $29,200. Public pension plans account for 40% of their income in retirement, and private plans represented just 22%. Chinese seniors had the lowest income at $28,200 and the highest poverty rate at 25%. Meanwhile, South Asian seniors also had low average retirement income at $29,000, though their poverty rate was also low at 12.9%.

For Black seniors, they found the average income was $32,400, placing them between white seniors and South Asian seniors on the retirement income spectrum.

“The 2016 census data reveal differences among Indigenous, racialized and white households when it comes to saving for retirement,” the report continued.

First Nations adults, the researchers found, had markedly lower participation rates in pension plans compared to white adults. And while Métis and Inuit households were more likely to have members of pension plans than white households, their contributions were found to be lower on average.

Members of all three Indigenous groups were less likely than white adults to contribute to RRSPs, and those that do tend to make smaller contributions. Mirroring that result, racialized Canadian households were determined to be less likely than white ones to have members in pension plans, and tended to contribute less when they do.

And while racialized households on the whole contribute to RRSPs at a similar rate with similar average contributions as white households, there are differences between each racial subgroup. For example, while the average contribution of Chinese households was just over $10,000, Black households had average contributions of $4,600, while white households’ average contribution was $7,600.

“Addressing seniors’ poverty and retirement income security for Indigenous peoples and racialized Canadians remains a pressing policy challenge,” the CCPA said. “Sustained

efforts to address the underlying economic marginalization resulting from colonialism and systemic racism are urgently required. Only then will the barriers to equitable employment opportunities be dismantled and the gender, Indigenous, and racialized pay gap be closed.”


Follow WP on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter