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November 2, 2018

Toronto: Worsening Wealth Inequality

Most people working in finance (or related fields) in Toronto have a very insulated view of the city.

They probably spend most of their lives between a gentrified neighbourhood and a glass tower downtown. Their evenings are spent shopping for artisinal cheeses and complaining about property taxes, both of which their ample salary easily covers. Their days are spent draped in 120s wool and sitting on $1000 ergonomic chairs.

These people live a life of luxury the rest of Toronto doesn't know. And the stark differences can be observed simply by walking 2-3 blocks in any direction. Yet, many forget what exists outside of their world.

Once you exit the bubble, however, you quickly realize Toronto proper is a city of vastly different realities.

If you view the entire city on a map, you can see the core of the city is mostly made up of relatively poor neighbourhoods surrounding oases of wealth. Indeed, most of the wealthier people have escaped to a massive belt surrounding Toronto proper, reminiscent of the 'white flight' that plagued Detroit throughout the late 20th century.

The first two maps (Source: United Way) below compare the distribution of rich vs. poor across the Toronto Census Metropolitan area in the years from 1980 to 2015. The last two maps focus on Toronto proper.

Shades of blue in the maps represent areas with above average incomes. Shades of red represent below average incomes. Yellow-ish represents middle incomes.

It is quite clear that wealth inequality across Toronto is wide and has worsened over the decades.














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