Which Canadian city has one of the smallest median employment incomes in North America?

City at bottom of list that includes 15 largest metropolitan areas in U.S.: report

Which Canadian city has one of the smallest median employment incomes in North America?

Toronto has the smallest median employment income among the 15 largest metropolitan states in Canada and the United States, according to a recent report from the Fraser Institute.

In the year 2019, the median employment income in Toronto stood at $37,550.

Toronto is way down the list of the largest metropolitan areas’ median employment income the included the following U.S. cities:

  • San Francisco: $70,315
  • Washington, D.C.: $64,056
  • Boston: $61,232
  • New York: $56,715
  • Philadelphia: $51,351
  • Chicago: $50,735
  • Atlanta: $48,723
  • Dallas-Fort Worth: $48,214
  • Houston: $46,591
  • Los Angeles: $45,682
  • Detroit: $45,419
  • Phoenix: $45,384
  • Riverside-San Bernardino, California: $41,996
  • Miami: $39,580

“Workers in Toronto, our largest urban centre, are generally earning less employment income than people in the largest American metro areas,” said Ben Eisen, Fraser Institute senior fellow and co-author of the report.

According to Statistics Canada (StatCan), in 2021, the median employment income in Canada was $37,300. The average employment income was $49,100.

About 19.5 million Canadians are facing financial vulnerability, according to a previous report from the Financial Resilience Institute.

Slow employment income growth in Toronto

The growth in employment income in Toronto between 2010 and 2019 was also relatively slow compared with the larget metropolitan areas in the U.S., according to Fraser Institute.

The compound annual percent change in Median employment income in Toronto during that decade was 0.4 per cent.

In this regard, Toronto is ahead of five U.S. metropolitan areas:

  • Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach: (0.3 per cent)
  • Detroit–Warren–Dearborn: 0.3 per cent
  • Philadelphia–Camden–Wilmington: 0.3 per cent
  • Phoenix–Mesa–Chandler: 0.3 per cent
  • Washington–Arlington–Alexandria: 0.2 per cent

However, Toronto still lags behind the following metropolitan areas in the U.S.:

  • San Francisco–Oakland–Berkeley: 2.1 per cent
  • Boston–Cambridge–Newton: 1.4 per cent
  • Chicago–Naperville–Elgin: 1.1 per cent
  • Atlanta–Sandy Springs–Alpharetta: 1.0 per cent
  • Los Angeles–Long Beach–Anaheim: 0.8 per cent
  • New York–Newark–Jersey City: 0.8 per cent
  • Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington: 0.8 per cent
  • Riverside–San Bernardino–Ontario: 0.8 per cent
  • Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land: 0.5 per cent

“To summarize, in most cases the prosperity gap as measured by median employment income between Toronto and the largest MSAs grew over the course of the 2010s. In comparison with five metro areas in the US, the gap shrank, but only slightly,” read part of the Comparing Employment Income in Toronto and Selected American Metropolitan Areas report.

Previously, Fraser Institute reported that, in assessing compound annual growth in employment income among the 141 largest metropolitan areas in Canada and the United States from 2010 to 2019, only three Canadian cities rank in the top half.

How can salary be increased?

Several factors can help increase workers’ salary. Indeed notes that these include the following:

  • Education levels
  • Experience levels
  • Technical skills and abilities
  • Work structure
  • Industry and specialization
  • Networking abilities
  • Communication skills
  • Negotiation skills

More than eight in 10 (81 per cent) Canadian professionals are on the hunt for new job opportunities this year, driven by the quest for better pay, according to a previous report from Robert Walters. 

However, the cost of living can also affect this, according to Indeed.

“Large metropolitan areas like Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are more expensive to live in than smaller cities but offer more work opportunities because of larger populations. Traditionally, where you live has long been an important variable in determining your earning potential, but with an ever-increasing amount of remote work, opportunities might change in your industry,” it says.

Also, there are certain circumstances you cannot control that are external to the job market, according to Indeed.

“This could range from government policy, performance in the stock market, new supply chains or a global pandemic. The type of work you do may change in the next few years, and being adaptable to those circumstances may affect your salary.”

Canadian workers are forecast to receive an average salary increase of 3.6 per cent in 2024, with most organizations planning to maintain their initial salary increase budget from last summer, according to Normandin Beaudry’s pulse survey on salary increase projections.

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