Fraser Institute News Release: Ontarians growing poorer compared to American neighbours; lags the regional GDP per person by $16,607

Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA

TORONTO, April 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The average income, as measured by per person GDP, continues to be lower in Ontario by CA$16,607 compared to its regional American neighbours, and the gap is only getting worse, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan, Canadian public policy think-tank.

“When we compare the average income of Ontarians relative to Americans in neighbouring states, the situation is getting worse,” said Ben Eisen, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute and co-author of Measuring Ontario’s Regional Prosperity Gap.

The study compares average income in Ontario (measured as Gross Domestic Product per person) to that of the eight American states in the Great Lakes region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin) and its neighbouring province of Quebec. It also compares the economic growth rates of jurisdictions in the region in recent years.

According to the study, Ontario has the second lowest GDP per person in the region, ahead only of Quebec.

In fact, Ontario’s GDP per person in 2019 was CA$61,315, and trailed Michigan (CA$65,226) by nearly $4,000 per person.

The population weighted average of GDP per person of all of the jurisdictions in the region is CA$77,922.

This means that Ontario lags the regional average by $16,607 per person, or 27.1 per cent.

“The income gap between Ontario and its neighbours is substantial, and should concern policymakers because strong GDP growth contributes to higher living standards,” Eisen said.


Ben Eisen, Senior Fellow
Fraser Institute

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit