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Would you rather earn $44,400 in Toronto, or $42,500 in Winnipeg?

On the surface, it seems like a no-brainer. But the cost of living in Toronto is considerably more expensive: A Torontonian needs to earn 17 per cent more than a Winnipegger to buy the same basket of goods, according to Statistics Canada. Thus, after accounting for local prices, Toronto’s median income lags Winnipeg’s by nearly $5,000.

For Toronto, it gets worse: the metro area’s price-adjusted median total income is the lowest out of seven major Canadian areas, according to an analysis provided to The Globe by hiring site Indeed. The leader is Edmonton, whose combination of high wages and relatively low prices puts it comfortably in front.

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The analysis highlights the degree to which spending power depends on location. Simply put, not every Canadian dollar is the same.

Price-adjusted median total income

Actual

income

Adjusted

income

Edmonton

$51,700

$53,299

Ottawa-Gatineau

$49,216

$50,200

Calgary

$49,100

Montreal

$41,600

$45,217

Winnipeg

$42,500

$45,213

Vancouver

$44,272

$45,600

Toronto

$40,273

$44,300

$38K

$42K

$46K

$50K

$54K

$58K

Notes: Cities refer to census metropolian areas. Ottawa-

Gatineau adjusted by Ottawa (Ont.) prices. Unadjusted

income excludes zeroes.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: INDEED, STATSCAN

Price-adjusted median total income

Actual

income

Adjusted

income

Edmonton

$51,700

$53,299

Ottawa-Gatineau

$49,216

$50,200

Calgary

$49,100

Montreal

$41,600

$45,217

Winnipeg

$42,500

$45,213

Vancouver

$44,272

$45,600

Toronto

$40,273

$44,300

$38K

$42K

$46K

$50K

$54K

$58K

Note: Cities refer to census metropolian areas. Ottawa-Gatineau

adjusted by Ottawa (Ont.) prices. Unadjusted income excludes zeroes.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: INDEED, STATSCAN

Price-adjusted median total income

Actual

income

Adjusted

income

Edmonton

$53,299

$51,700

Ottawa-Gatineau

$49,216

$50,200

Calgary

$49,100

Montreal

No change as

prices match

cross-city average

$41,600

$45,217

Winnipeg

$42,500

$45,213

Vancouver

$44,272

$45,600

Toronto

$40,273

$44,300

$38K

$42K

$46K

$50K

$54K

$58K

Note: Cities refer to census metropolian areas. Ottawa-Gatineau adjusted by Ottawa (Ont.) prices. Unadjusted

income excludes zeroes.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: INDEED, STATSCAN

To carry out its analysis, Indeed took the median total incomes (after government benefits and before taxes) for those aged 25 to 54 from the 2017 Canadian Income Survey by census metropolitan area. It then adjusted those incomes using a Statscan index of intercity price differentials for the same year.

The local prices account for everything from food and shelter, to clothing and alcoholic beverages, and the cross-city price average is always indexed to 100. Thus for 2017, metro Toronto’s reading of 110 indicates local prices are 10 per cent higher than the average of 14 major Canadian areas. For metro Montreal, with a reading of 92, prices are 8 per cent cheaper.

Inter-city price differentials

For all items, cross-city average = 100

110

110

105

103

102

100

100

97

95

94

92

90

Winnipeg

Calgary

Vancouver

Montreal

Edmonton

Ottawa

Toronto

Note: Cities refer to census metropolian areas, except for

Ottawa, which is Ont. part only.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: STATSCAN

Inter-city price differentials

For all items, cross-city average = 100

110

110

105

103

102

100

100

97

95

94

92

90

Winnipeg

Calgary

Vancouver

Montreal

Edmonton

Ottawa

Toronto

Note: Cities refer to census metropolian areas, except for Ottawa,

which is Ont. part only.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: STATSCAN

Inter-city price differentials

For all items, cross-city average = 100

110

110

More expensive

than average

105

103

102

100

100

97

Less expensive

than average

95

94

92

90

Winnipeg

Calgary

Vancouver

Montreal

Edmonton

Ottawa

Toronto

Note: Cities refer to census metropolian areas, except for Ottawa, which is Ont. part only.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: STATSCAN

Brendon Bernard, economist at Indeed Canada, said Statscan’s price data are better suited to renters. On that front, rental accommodation in the Toronto area is 20 per cent pricier than the cross-city average.

“Once you take into account rent, things really come down,” said Mr. Bernard, of Toronto’s adjusted-income figure. “I don’t think that’s too surprising. Housing affordability is one of the key challenges facing big cities in the Canadian economy.

“It’s definitely a tough thing for job seekers to deal with. There might be opportunities in Toronto. … But moving here, if you don’t already own a home, those high shelter costs are going to take a big bite out of your budget.”

The scope of Indeed’s analysis is limited, in large part, by the few locations for which data are regularly collected and across comparable areas.

However, Indeed carried out a similar analysis last year for the United States, where salary and price data is more comprehensive. The report found that many of the U.S.’s top cities by salary took a major hit once costs of living were accounted for. Jed Kolko, Indeed’s chief economist, wrote that “[adjusted] salaries are highest not in the big coastal metros, but in less attention-getting locales,” such as Brownsville, Tex., and Kingsport, Tenn.

Granted, he also noted that not all locations with high salaries are high on opportunity.

“If you want it all – high adjusted salaries, low unemployment today and good future prospects – look instead at Duluth, Minn., Wilmington, N.C., and Lubbock, Tex.”

For U.S. metros with more than one million residents, the top adjusted salaries were found in Birmingham-Hoover, Ala., followed by Cincinnati and Cleveland.

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