Residents need over $80k to thrive in Mississauga, Ontario and the GTA


Published February 29, 2024 at 3:56 pm

80,000 dollars mississauga thriving

A new report suggests that in order to ‘thrive’ in Mississauga or Toronto (and the GTA overall), a single resident would need to make between $61,654 and $83,680 after taxes. 

The Wellesley Institute’s most recent Thriving in the City report found that in order for an able-bodied and healthy adult between the ages of 25 and 40 to live a “healthy and thriving life in the GTA,” they would need to make significantly more than minimum wage. 

The report, which defines “thriving” as achieving a state of physical, social and psychological well-being, estimates costs for goods, resources and services vital for living a comfortable life. The report explores two scenarios: An individual condo owner in Mississauga who drives a car and a renter in Toronto without a vehicle.  

“These two scenarios, also used in previous Thriving in the City research, account for diverse shelter, transportation and savings needs and patterns in both urban and suburban areas,” the report reads. 

According to the report, the annual cost of thriving for a single, working-age adult in the GTA is estimated to range from about $60,000 to a little over $80,000 after taxes–far above the earnings of a person who works full-time for minimum wage ($16.55 per hour) and earns about $25,994 after taxes.

The report says the shelter costs for the Mississauga resident are expected to be about $36,228 a year, assuming the person purchased their condo in 2018. Those costs include mortgage payments for a one-bedroom unit, utilities, equipment, furnishings, repairs and maintenance, condo fees, property taxes and insurance. 

For the Toronto renter, shelter costs are estimated at about $22,342 a year. 

For transportation, the Mississauga resident is expected to pay about $11,193 a year. Costs include payments on a 2018 Honda Civic SE, insurance, license renewal, repairs and maintenance, gas, condo parking charges, transit use and cab fare. In Toronto, the resident is expected to pay much less–about $2,877 a year. 

For residents in both scenarios, spending on social participation, food, professional development, health care, personal hygiene, and physical activity are the same. 

The report says social participation could cost about $7,356 per year, with spending expected on books, subscriptions, creative projects, social outings, hosting expenses, charitable contributions, casual dining, internet, phone, streaming services and travel. 

Food is expected to cost about $5,310 per year, while professional development (software, networking, etc) could cost about $3,198 per year. On health care, the report expects residents to spend about $2,436 per year on health care and $2,049 per year on personal care and hygiene. Physical activity could come to $603 per year. 

The report says that even with cutting down on expenses, it’s difficult for individuals to cover shelter and transportation costs while accumulating savings. 

“Increasing wages is only one potential solution to increasing the proportion of people in the GTA who have sufficient income and resources to thrive,” the report says. 

“Employers should provide, and governments should guarantee, extended health benefits. Employers and governments should enhance pensions for all. Finally, and crucially, all levels of government should collaborate to improve policies and programs that address other social determinants of health.” 

The report calls on governments to enhance the health care system, reduce the cost of housing, reduce transit costs, enhance transit systems to remove reliance on vehicles and work to reduce other living costs. 

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