Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Disposable income for the MBM

Release date: November 17, 2021Updated on: July 13, 2022


The disposable income for the Market Basket Measure (MBM) is an income concept developed by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) for comparing against Canada's official poverty line - the MBM thresholds.

The disposable income for the MBM is the amount of income available to an economic family or a person not in an economic family to purchase goods and services. It is derived by deducting income taxes and non‑discretionary spending for the MBM from total income, and then adding to it a value called the Tenure Type Adjustment (TTA) for homeowners without a mortgage, homeowners with a mortgage and subsidized renters. The TTA represents the differences in typical shelter costs of the forth mentioned tenure types compared to renters. It puts families facing different shelter costs on a more equal footing when determining poverty estimates.

For the 2021 Census, the reference period is the calendar year 2020 for this variable.

Statistical unit(s)


Reported in

2021 and 2016 (25% sample), 2011Footnote 1 (30% sample).

Reported for

Economic families and persons not in economic families aged 15 years and over in private households

Question number(s)

Variable derived based on administrative tax and benefit records received from the Canada Revenue Agency.


Positive or negative dollar value or nil


Like the 2018‑base MBM thresholds, the tenure type adjustment for the MBM is defined for each of the 53 MBM geographies. These amounts are presented in Table 2.3 Tenure type adjustment for the Market Basket Measure (MBM), 2020.

The MBM methodology undergoes periodic reviews and updates. The tenure type adjustment concept was one of the updates made to the disposable income components for the 2018 MBM rebasing. It was an extension of the mortgage‑free homeowner's advantage for the MBM that was introduced as part of the 2008 MBM rebasing. The disposable income for the 2018 MBM is also adjusted for taxes paid on capital gains. For full detail on the disposable income concept, see 'Defining disposable income in the Market Basket Measure' in the Income Research Paper Series (Catalogue no. 75F0002M). For more information about the 2018‑base MBM, see Market Basket Measure (MBM).

See also non‑discretionary spending for the MBM.

For additional information on various low‑income concepts, see 'Low Income Lines: What they are and how they are created' in the Income Research Paper Series (Catalogue no. 75F0002M).

For additional information about data collection method, coverage, reference period, concepts, data quality and intercensal comparability of the income data, refer to the Income Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2021.


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