A number is never just a number: In the red

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• $1.57 trillion
Canadians' household debt in the second quarter of 2011, reaching an all-time high this year. (Source and Source)

• 34.6 per cent
Canadians' housing equity at the end of 2010. That represents a 20-year low. (Source)

• 150.8 per cent
Canadians' household debt ratio to personal disposable income in the second quarter of 2011, higher than our U.S. neighbours. (Source and Source)

• 148.7 per cent
Canadian households' credit market debt ratio to personal disposable income, second quarter 2011. (Source)

• 7.6 per cent
Percentage of Canadian disposable income that goes toward interest payments. (Source)

• One in 10
Number of Canadians who say even with a credit card or line of credit they would have trouble paying an unforeseen $500 expense. (Source)

• 27 per cent
Percentage of non-retired Canadians who don't commit to any type of savings, not even for retirement. (Source)

• 35 per cent
Percentage of Canadians who say their debt is increasing. (Source)

• 46 per cent
Number of low-income households who report their debt is increasing. (Source)

• 57 per cent
Percentage of Canadians who say day-to-day living expenses are the main reason for their rising debt. (Source)

• One-third
Proportion of retired Canadian households carrying an average debt load of $60,000 into retirement. (Source)

• Four in 10
Number of Canadians who don't feel confident they'll have enough money in retirement. (Source)

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative's Trish Hennessy has long been a fan of Harper Magazine's one-page list of eye-popping statistics, Harper's Index. Instead of wishing for a Canadian version to magically appear, she's created her own index -- a monthly listing of numbers about Canada and its place in the world. Hennessy's Index -- A number is never just a number -- comes out on the first of each month.

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