Thursday, December 23, 2010

Income inequality in Toronto

The discussion about income polarization in Toronto assumes that it would adversely affect the welfare of those living in low-income neighbourhoods. This may not necessarily be true.

While it is true that income inequality has increased in Toronto since 1970s, however one cannot automatically assume that those who currently live in low-income neighbourhoods are relatively more disadvantaged than those who lived in low-income neighbourhoods in the 70’s, when income inequality in Toronto was much less.

Professor Nancy Ross of McGill University has in fact found no association between income inequality and mortality in Canada and concluded that effective distribution of social and economic resources in Canada could be the reason behind blunting the possible adverse effects of income inequality.There are however other studies that have found association between morbidity and income inequality. For instance, some studies have found that life expectancy in Canada for the rich is higher than those who are poor.

As long as we have in place a resource distribution arrangement that affords the same access to health-care, public education, and other fundamental services, such as waste collection and water supply, to all irrespective of their incomes, we should not get too concerned about some of our fellow citizens getting too rich.
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