If current trends continue, Toronto will become a sharply divided city of wealthy neighborhoods, poor neighborhoods and very few else in between. So concludes a report released by the Cities Centre led by a team from the University of Toronto and St. Christopher House.
In 2007, the formerly named Center for Urban & Community Studies released a report titled “Three Cities in Toronto: Income Polarization Among Toronto’s Neighborhoods.”
Sourcing data from the 1970s to 2001 the report used 2006 census data to update the trends identified in that earlier report and shows long-term patterns are continuing.
- 4 per cent of neighbourhoods that were middle-income in 2001 became part of the group of increasingly affluent neighbourhoods that the Cities Centre calls “City #1”.
- 7 per cent of formerly middle-income neighbourhoods lost ground to become part of the group of neighbourhoods with declining incomes known as “City #3.”
- If this trend continues, by 2025, City #1 will consist of about 30 per cent of all Toronto’s neighbourhoods, City #3 will cover 60 per cent of the city and the formerly middle income neighbourhoods (City #2) will make up the remaining 10 per cent.
“The suburban municipalities around Toronto are subject to the same trends. This is not a 416 versus 905 problem,” says J. David Hulchanski, one of the report’s key researchers. “The middle-income group throughout the region is shrinking, resulting in fewer middle-income neighbourhoods throughout the Toronto region.”
Although there are more middle-income neighbourhoods in the 905 region to begin with, the number is steadily decreasing and has done so since 1970, while the numbers of low-income neighbourhoods are steadily rising.
Twenty percent of 905-region neighbourhoods are now low income, compared to none in the 1970s.” The three groupings are defined by the average individual income of residents of each census tract in the city.
In the neighbourhoods of City #1, the average income is 20 per cent or more above the average individual income for the census metropolitan area as a whole.
In City #2, the average income is within 20 per cent above or below the average. In City #3, the average income is 20 per cent or more below the average.
The 32-page report also adds a wealth of detail about the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of each of the Three Cities within Toronto.
Although the three groups of neighbourhoods are defined by the average individual income of their residents, they differ in many other ways, from education levels to travel patterns to household characteristics to housing tenure.
The research was funded by the Community University Research Alliance program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). A full copy for your reading pleasure is available below.