Toronto’s income gap continues to widen, finds U of T expert

Not new, but better documented by David Hulchanski than done earlier:

Between 1970 and 1990, average incomes jumped significantly in only about 13 per cent of Toronto’s 500-plus “census tract” neighbourhoods.

Slightly more, 19 per cent, saw incomes drop significantly, while most Torontonians, in 67 per cent of the census tracts, saw earnings change only modestly.

Expanding the time frame to 1970 to 2012 exposes a dramatic shift.

Middle-income communities across the city began to evaporate. Neighbourhoods with relatively stable average income shrank by more than half, to 32 per cent of the census tracts.

The percentage of neighbourhoods where residents’ average incomes skyrocketed more than doubled. At the same time, the percentage of neighbourhoods where people were getting much poorer also doubled.

Yorkville, which transformed from downtown hippie haven to posh shopping district favoured by the jet set, saw the biggest surge in average incomes. Part of Thorncliffe Park, which became a landing pad for newly arrived immigrants, saw the biggest income drop.

When the city snapshot is narrowed to only 2012, just under half of Toronto is considered low-income — well under the $46,666-per-year average — while 21 per cent is high-income and only 30 per cent is middle.

“What I call City No. 2 — the middle-income city — is simply disappearing,” Hulchanski says.

Gentrification is only one of the root causes, he says, listing provincial and federal policy changes since 1990 that he believes were intended to further enrich society’s top earners.

This can also be mapped against visible minorities, many of whom are low-income in Toronto.

Of course, this is not just a Toronto issue as part of worldwide trend towards greater inequality.

Toronto’s income gap continues to widen, finds U of T expert | Toronto Star.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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