U of T research shows Toronto's middle class is disappearing

Jan 26 2018, 2:47 pm

According to new data, Toronto’s middle class has disappeared at an alarming rate.

University of Toronto professor David Hulchanski, whose research focuses on housing, neighbourhood and community planning issues, has looked at the income divide in Toronto, and found that while low income earners and high income earners are increasing, middle class earners are rapidly disappearing.

Hulchanski shared a series of graphics on Twitter, which show the shift in income earners from 1980 up until 2015.

In 1980, the middle class earners dominated most of the GTA, representing roughly 60% of the population. During this time, low income earners represented 28%, while high income earners only made up 12%.

But by 1990, you can see that there’s been a major shift, and now high and low income earners make up significantly more of the population.

According to Hulchanski, by 2015, high income earners increased to 21% of the population, low income earners made up 51% and middle only makes up 28%.

Changes over the years

High Income: From 12% to 21%

Middle Income: From 60% to 28%

Low Income: From 28% to 51%

In a report, The Opportunity Equation in the Greater Toronto Area, co-written by Hulchanski in November, the professor says that within the GTA, the gap between rich and poor is most pronounced in Toronto.

“Toronto is no longer a city of neighbourhoods—it’s a collection of islands segregated by income,” states the professor and co-author Michelynn Laflèche at United Way Toronto & York Region. “These are the two Torontos—one where residents buy the soon-to-expire produce of discount grocers, embark on epic commutes and decide to invest in a decent car, rather than try to attain housing near transit routes.”

The duo also said that there are more low-income neighbourhoods in Toronto, where in 1980 there were only five very-low-income neighbourhoods, in 2015, there were 88.

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