Click here to view the map on a full screen. Note: Some census tracts show 0 median household incomes. This means the data is not applicable based on census data. Each polygon represents a census tract, a small, relatively stable area with between 2,500 and 8,000 people, according to the Statistics Canada’s definition.

Every one in three newcomers to Canada settles down in the Golden Horse Shoe region in Southern Ontario. Toronto attracts them the most. They come here expecting better lives and job opportunities, most importantly, more equal treatments. To their disappointment, Toronto has been crowned as the inequality capital of Canada.

The Golden Horseshoe is one of North America’s fastest growing regions. It homes 9 million people, one-quarter of Canada’s whole population. As the country’s No. 1 economic engine, this area generates two-thirds of Ontario’s and one-quarter of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product.

There are nine census metropolitan areas: Toronto, Oshawa, Barrie, Hamilton, St.Catharine-Niagara, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Guelph, Brantford and Peterborough. Oshawa has the highest median household income of $85,000, and St.Catharine-Niagara has the lowest at $ 63,000.

This region, particularly the Toronto metropolitan area, witnesses the biggest income gap in Canada, and the number is just appalling — the most affluent families are paid nearly 14 times more than those at the bottom.

Placing the 2016 census data on a map can portrait such a discrepancy more significantly. If you look at the map closely, it’s easy to notice that the Golden Horseshoe falls into the typical pattern of how families reside geographically according to their incomes in urban areas.

Toronto, the most populated area in the country with the most diverse demographics racially and financially, has a convoluted pattern. Observing its map is like looking at the colored church stained glasses. The city has the most pronounced income discrepancy in the whole region. The ten richest neighborhoods all locate in Toronto, and five neighborhoods among the ten poorest are in here as well. Researchers from the University of Toronto wrote in their report that Toronto is “a collection of islands segregated by income.”

In Toronto, a family struggling financially may find that their neighbors across the street have a lifestyle so luxurious and upscale that they seem from different worlds. This is particularly the case in downtown Toronto: neighborhoods with incomes 40 per cent below the median live adjacent to those whose incomes are 40 per cent above the median.

Most lower-income families, except those still trapped in their dilapidated and outdated residence in downtown, have been pushed to the edges of Toronto, forming a buffer zone between the ultra-rich in the core of the city and the well-off living in suburbs.
The satellite cities around Toronto reflect how families in North America distribute in accordance with their economic status: the cities remain poorer than their surrounding counties. In cities such as Brampton, Mississauga, Hamilton, Oshawa, Barrie and Kitchener, the low-income families all reside in the inner cities, accessing to limited living space, resources and opportunities. The further away from the cities, the richer families become. The suburbs abounded with high-income families have become more affluent.



Technical notes: Data are available through the Statistics Canada. You can find the analyzed data and code on my Github page.

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