90% say life in Toronto is increasingly difficult for average people

Watch above: Alan Carter reports on the Torontonians who say they’re living paycheque to paycheque. 

TORONTO – Torontonians like Toronto. But many say they’re just scraping by.

More than half the 1,252 Torontonians surveyed for a wide-ranging Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by Global News say they’re living paycheque to paycheque.

Almost six in 10 (59%) say that if they lost their job, they’re not sure they could find another quickly.

And 38 per cent of those surveyed say they have almost had enough: They’re thinking of seeking greener, more affordable pastures – 12 per cent strongly, 26 per cent somewhat.

Even while most of the city’s inhabitants plan on staying put, the vast majority – 90 per cent – think Toronto’s becoming increasingly difficult for the average person to live in.

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“Even though people see it as very expensive, they also see it as a place that’s worth it,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.

“But that’s not everybody. And even people who are thinking that it’s worth it, do believe it’s not affordable, especially for the average person.”

That feeling is most profound in Scarborough where 85 per cent of residents say the city is too expensive to live in.

READ MORE: Half of Torontonians willing to pay more to spend less time on TTC

Bricker suggested Scarborough has taken the place of downtown Toronto as the beachhead of Toronto where many immigrants land.  As such, many are less well-off financially than people in the rest of the city.

“People who are coming in and trying to establish themselves tend to go there and as a result they may not have access to real estate, they may not have the incomes that people, say living downtown, are likely to have,” Bricker said.

“And as a result, they’re more marginal and it’s tougher.”

But not everyone is financially pessimistic: Sixty-eight per cent of those surveyed said they Toronto’s economy is strong and 69 per cent are confident in the future of the Toronto economy.

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Seventy-seven per cent think it’s worth paying more for everything to live in Canada’s most populous city.

Doug Ford (centre) sits with fellow candidates Olivia Chow and John Tory as he takes part in a Toronto Mayoral Debate in Toronto on Tuesday, September 23, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

So what does that mean for mayoral candidates?

That feeling of financial duress is good news for Olivia Chow, who has spent the most time talking about affordability thus far in the campaign, Bricker said.

And her supporters are the voters most concerned about affordability, according to data provided by Ipsos Reid.

John Tory, on the other hand, has spent more time talking about transit and congestion – as well he should, Bricker said, it is what’s driving votes in this election.

“And all the stuff that’s related to congestion and infrastructure, Tory’s got a pretty good lead on it,” Bricker said. “Affordability of housing and the difficulty of living in this city, which is a huge issue when people look at it, doesn’t seem to be driving the election and that’s what Chow is leaning on.”

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Ipsos surveyed 1,252 Torontonians on Global News’s behalf via an online panel between September 22 and 25. The survey is reliable within +/- 3.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The data, summaries and commentary in exclusive Global News / Ipsos Reid polling are subject to copyright. The data, summaries and commentary may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper attribution to both Global News and Ipsos Reid in all web articles, on social media, in radio broadcasts and with an on-screen credit for television.


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