Economic times here in America are pretty tough, but things aren’t so shabby for our neighbors to the north.
Over the past five years, the net worth of the average Canadian has crept up, overtaking the average American’s wealth for the first time. These days, Canadian households are about $40,000 richer than American ones.
The figures from Environics Analytics WealthScapes, first published in Toronto’s Globe and Mail last month, place the net value of the typical Canadian household at $363,202 versus $319,970 below the border. And, writer Michael Adams points out, "these are not 60-cent-dollars, but Canadian dollars more or less at par with the U.S. greenback."
Not only are Canadians richer, Bloomberg View columnist Stephen Marche reported on Sunday, they're also more likely to have a job. According to the latest figures, Canada’s unemployment rate continues to sink down to 7.2 percent while the U.S. has held steady at 8.2 percent.
What's behind the economic success of the Great White North? It’s not necessarily that Canadians are more industrious and thrifty than their neighbors to the south. The 2008 economic crisis wreaked havoc on the U.S. housing market, sending real estate values plunging. So, Canadians’ houses are worth about $140,000 more than Americans. Canadians also own about twice as much real estate as Americans, and have fewer mortgages.
On a national level, assets like the Alberta tar sands certainly help, but, Marche proposes, it was a policy of "hard-headed socialism" that allowed the banks and the housing market to stay stable and weather the global economic crisis.
A sign of America’s failing system? Perhaps, Marche muses. Iceland, considering abandoning its current currency the krona, has taken note of Canada’s recent success and set its sights on the loonie.