Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Justin Fox

Most Canadians Are Now Better Off Than Most Americans

Middle-class people in the U.S. are losing ground to their peers in other rich countries.

Canada’s middle class is on the rise.

Canada’s middle class is on the rise.

Photographer: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP

Everybody knows that the U.S. version of capitalism is rougher and tougher than is the norm in other affluent countries. The rich are richer here, the poor poorer and the welfare state less exhaustive. Not surprisingly, the U.S. scores poorly versus other rich nations in terms of health outcomes, education levels and other such metrics.

Defenders of the U.S. approach can point, though, to the fact that per-capita gross domestic product has remained higher in the U.S. than in all but a few small nations with unique characteristics (Qatar, Luxembourg, Singapore, Switzerland, Norway, etc.) — so much higher that even with the less-equal income distribution here, most Americans continue to have higher incomes than their peers in other large, affluent countries.