Canada Has 4 of the 5 Most Unaffordable Cities in North America: Study

According to a study by PolicyAdvisor, four out of the five of the most expensive cities in Canada and the U.S. are Canadian due to cost of living.

A view of the Skyline in downtown Toronto from Ward Island.

Image via Getty/Shawn Goldberg/SOPA Images/LightRocket

A view of the Skyline in downtown Toronto from Ward Island.

While inflation and cost of living is rising on both sides of the border, a new study suggests that four out of five of the most unaffordable cities in both Canada and the United States are located on the north side of the border. 

It may not be a surprise that New York City, Vancouver and Toronto broke the top five, but what may come as a shock to some is that Mississauga and Hamilton, Ontario are the second and fourth least affordable cities respectively on either side of the border.

The study, conducted by PolicyAdvisor, compared the average cost of certain necessities, items and services in the two countries’ ten most populated cities—including a movie theatre ticket, a restaurant meal, a bottle of water, a cappuccino, a one-month gym membership, a one-way transit trip, a monthly transit pass, and one month’s rent. These costs were then compared to the average income of people living in these cities. 

Through these metrics, it was determined that Mississauga was the most expensive city in Canada, and the second most expensive if you include the States. 

“This data contains some surprising results, as even though some major cities in North America might be perceived as having lower living costs, when factoring in the average salary in the area, it’s not as clear cut,” a spokesperson for PolicyAdvisor said on Thursday according to CTV News

Rent costs skyrocketing and wages remaining the same is a huge factor in affordability according to the study. In Vancouver, the average person uses 46 percent of their wages to pay rent. These numbers are similar in Hamilton despite having lower costs on things like coffee and restaurant dining, with rent eating up 42 percent of the average Hamiltonian’s income. 

Entertainment and lifestyle costs tend to be cheaper in Canada, even if the cost of essentials may be more expensive. The award for most expensive movie ticket in Canada goes to Vancouver ($16), which is still significantly cheaper than going to see a film in New York City (over $23). Fancy coffees and restaurant eats also cost less on average in Canada.

Read the full list of the most expensive major cities in the U.S. and Canada below:

1. New York City

2. Mississauga

3. Vancouver

4. Hamilton

5. Toronto

6. Los Angeles

7. San Diego

8. Chicago

9. Ottawa

10. Montreal

11. Winnipeg

12. Philadelphia

13. Phoenix

14. San Jose

15. Brampton

16. Dallas

17. San Antonio

18. Houston

19. Edmonton

20. Calgary 

Latest in Life