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Ontario’s GDP per person trailed neighbouring Michigan by over $6,000.

Ontario’s GDP per person trailed neighbouring Michigan by over $6,000.

Ontario lags the regional average GDP per person by $19,219 – or 32.7%.

THUNDER BAY, SAULT STE, MARIE, ONTARIO  ~~~~~~  February  2, 20222  (LSNews)   The average income (as measured by per-person GDP) in Ontario is C$19,219 lower than the average in nearby U.S. states, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan, Canadian public policy think-tank.

“We examine the broadest measures of economic prosperity, which clearly show Ontario is significantly less prosperous than neighbouring U.S. states. What’s more, the gap keeps growing,” said Ben Eisen, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute and coauthor of Measuring Ontario’s Regional Prosperity Gap—2022 Update.

The study compares Ontario’s average income (again, as measured by per-person GDP, a common indicator of living standards) to the average income of eight U.S. states in the Great Lakes region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin). The analysis also includes Quebec.

According to the study, in 2020 Ontario had the region’s second-lowest GDP per person (ahead of only Quebec) at C$58,793, well behind Michigan (over C$6,000 below Michigan), the lowest-ranking U.S. state and $19,219 per person below the regional average of C$78,012.

“Ontario is a wonderful place to live, but it’s important for policymakers not to be complacent about the large and growing prosperity gap we face relative to our neighbours. Closing the gap through faster economic growth can help generate higher wage growth for households and a higher standard of living overall,” Eisen said.

Great Lakes State/Province                GDP per person above Ontario
New York                                                          C$53,671
Illinois                                                               C$27,188
Minnesota                                                         C$24,503
Pennsylvania                                                    C$17,343
Ohio                                                                  C$14,268
Wisconsin                                                         C$14,212
Indiana                                                              C$11,267
Michigan                                                           C$6,375
Quebec                                                             C$-6,419 


  • By global standards, Ontario is a prosperous place. Ontarians enjoy living standards and access to opportunities that are the envy of much of the world.
  • However, within its own economic region, Ontario is an economic laggard.
  • This bulletin compares overall prosperity in Ontario (measured as Gross Domestic Product per person) to that of the eight American states in the Great Lakes region and its neighbouring province, Quebec. It also compares the economic growth rates of jurisdictions in the region in recent years.
  • The study shows that Ontario has the second lowest GDP per person in the region, ahead only of Quebec. The region’s GDP per capita taken as a whole is 32.7 percent higher than Ontario’s.
  • Over the past two decades, Ontario has fallen increasingly behind its regional neighbours. While real inflation-adjusted GDP has increased by 18.5 percent in the entire region since 2001, Ontario’s real per person economy has grown by just 6.5 per cent.
  • The large and growing prosperity gap between Ontario and its neighbours should concern Ontarians generally and policymakers specifically. Strong GDP growth contributes to job creation, wage growth, and other indicators of well-being.



Ben Eisen
Senior Fellow, Fraser Institute


Nathaniel Li


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    The Fraser Institute is an independent, non-partisan research and educational organization based in Canada. We have offices in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Visit our Website 

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