In the last posts we have learned that income in Toronto got more and more polarized over the last 35 years, resulting into the development of 3 cities within the city.
The questions is: Can something be done about the growing inequality? The answer is: Yes! The authors of the study from the University of Toronto write themselves:
The polarization of the city need not continue. It is not inevitable. The jurisdiction and financial capacity of the federal and provincial governments are sufficient to reverse the trend. A wealthy nation can use its resources to make a difference. Income support programs that keep up with inflation and are based on the cost of living and tax relief for households in the bottom fifth of the income scale can address inequality.
As one can see from the graph the rich areas, like for example the downtown financial district, provide more work, whereas the poor areas just have 52 jobs per 100 inhabitants. Consequently, the percentage of persons who have to travel by car or public transport to get to work, is much higher in city 3. Furthermore, nearly double the people of city 3 in comparison to city 1 have work outside the city of Toronto.
As in most post-industrial economies, blue-collar employment in The City of Toronto declined substantially between 1971 and 2005, from 28% to 17%. During the same period, white-collar employment increased from 17% to 40% of all occupations.
As a consequence people working in manufacturing have to travel more, since the locations are often outside the city, whereas people working in white-collar jobs have less traveling. Additionally, low income areas have the poorest access to public transport.
Residents of City #3, the neighbourhoods with the lowest average income, have to travel farther to find employment, yet they have the poorest access to the Toronto Transit Commission’s subway stations. Only 19 of the system’s 68 sub way stations are within or near City #3 neighbourhoods.
We may not able to change the general trend towards outsourcing of manufacturing worldwide, nor would it be easy to counterbalance the current global economic crisis, however giving the poor access to public transport is something that can be worked on. Not only do the poor earn less, even more their manufacturing jobs are constantly under risk to get rationalized away and finally the costs of the commute are even higher.
So in Toronto the financial consultant can go to work by bike, whereas the normal worker may need a car with all the cost for maintenance, insurance and parking attached.