From 1980–2005, average household income in the poorest 10 per cent of neighbourhoods increased by only 2 per cent—compared to incomes in the richest 10 per cent of neighbourhoods that rose by 80 per cent.
Toronto (04 March 2015) — A report released on February 27 by the United Way in Toronto highlights the impact of growing income inequality on our cities and neighbourhoods.
The report, The Opportunity Equation, will be the first in a series of reports from the agency to promote a full discussion on the subject of the growing economic divide in our communities.
Report findings show the dramatic gulf between Toronto's rich and poor neighbourhoods
The United Way Toronto report makes some key findings:
- Income inequality is growing at a faster rate in Toronto than the Ontario and national average. Over the last 25 years, income inequality has risen by 31 per cent.
- Hard work is not seen as a guarantee for success. Seventy-three per cent of people say that hard work is not enough to get ahead.
- A person's background and circumstances are barriers to a good future. Things we cannot control, such as race, gender, and household income when we are growing up have a real impact on life chances.
- The next generation's prospects do not look positive. Young people are graduating with high levels of debt, and find themselve working short-term contract positions which don't pay enough to get ahead.
- Where you live matters. From 1980–2005, average household income in the poorest 10 per cent of neighbourhoods increased by only 2 per cent — compared to incomes in the richest 10 per cent of neighbourhoods that rose by 80 per cent.
- Long-term health and prosperity are at risk with income inequality. The results lead to lower levels of trust, of social mobility, of education outcomes, of life expectancy, and higher rates of teenage pregnancy. The results also lead to an increase in violence, of mental illness, addictions and obesity.
Solutions are there
"This isn't a problem just in Toronto," says James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), a union that has been running a five-year campaign on income inequality. "Cities across this country are finding the same results. The wealthy are getting wealthier and the middle- and low-income families are struggling."
"The United Way's report finds what we've discovered through our All Together Now! campaign on the growing income and opportunity gap," continued Clancy. "People still trust each other. Despite how hard things get, people are still able to see the good in our communities. And we know that by continuing to work together to provide our leaders with solutions, we will achieve fairness and opportunity for everyone."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE