Income Polarization in Toronto

I attended an event at Yonge Street Mission this week on understanding our changing city. David Hulchanski, author of The Three Cities within Toronto (PDF), presented some of his research.

In 1970, about two-thirds of the City of Toronto’s neighborhoods were middle income. Now, that number is less than a third (29%). Two maps, one from 1970 and one from 2005, show the difference. The blue represents high income, the yellow represents middle income, and the darker color represents low income. First, 1970:


Look at the difference in 2005:


There’s a lot less of the middle income levels, and a lot more of the lower income areas, especially in the inner suburbs like Etobicoke and Scarborough. The bottom line: the gap between rich and poor is growing, and the middle is disappearing.

There’s a lot more research available at The Greater Toronto Urban Observatory. The Star also has a helpful summary.

Some reflections:

  • Poverty is not just a downtown issue.
  • Many of our Toronto churches were started in neighborhoods that were more middle-income than they are now, and need to adapt to a community that is completely different.
  • The inner suburbs are increasingly areas of great need and great opportunity.
  • Churches have an opportunity to break through socio-economic barriers. For instance, they can choose not to flee from areas with lower-than-average income.
Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada