The Economist says Vancouver is Canada’s most expensive global city; Toronto considered cheap

By: Dominic Licorish on March 22, 2017

A new report ranks Toronto, one of Canada’s least affordable places to live, as one of the cheaper global cities to live in.

The latest update to the Economist’s Intelligence Unit’s Cost of Living Index says Toronto is the 86th most expensive major city in the world — up from 88th last year. The index, which looks at 133 major cities across the globe, ranked Vancouver  even more expensive at 39th.

Toronto shares its ranking with Rio de Janeiro, Lima, Bahrain, and Santiago. Vancouver on the other hand shares its rank with Düsseldorf, Barcelona, Brussels, and Nouméa (that’s the capital of New Caledonia, a French territory in the South Pacific).

The index uses the results of the Worldwide Cost of Living survey, a bi-annual survey that compares more than 400 prices across 160 products and services. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit this includes “ food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs.”

Conspicuously missing from that list of metrics is home prices, a factor that would likely push the city higher up in the rankings.

We recently determined that it costs at least $35,000 a year to live in Toronto as a single adult, and that doesn’t account for debt repayment or savings. For the majority of young adults in the city, the cost of housing alone would burn half their paycheque and the costs only pile up as one matures (children, higher quality housing, car).

Toronto is often compared to nearby American cities such as Chicago and New York, both of which rank much higher on the index. This could be some consolation for Torontonians — after all, they get to live in a world-class city at a moderately low price.