There’s been a lot of chatter from dissatisfied Americans who are threatening to move to Canada after they learn the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. After all, Canada has good healthcare, a strong economy, and of course, Justin Trudeau. But if your post-election plans include a move to the Great White North, you might reconsider when you hear how much it’ll cost you.
Here in America, the national household income has increased by 26% over the last 12 years. At the same time, the cost of living has also gone up — by 29%. That fact alone might make you want to head to the northern border, but you should know that taxes and housing costs will be just as high, or higher in some cases, should you move to Canada.
If you don’t like the current amount your government forces you to allocate to taxes, moving to Canada probably won’t help matters. In 2015, the average American family paid around $14,000 USD, or $26,000 CAD, in taxes. That same year, the average Canadian family paid approximately $34,154 CAD in taxes. Although that conversion rate can benefit you when moving to Canada, those hiked up taxes certainly won’t.
Housing is generally pricier, too. In September of 2016, the average single-family home price in Vancouver rose to $1.58 million CAD, or $1.19 million in U.S. currency. In Toronto, the average home sells for around $537,000 USD. Depending on the housing market in which you currently reside, this could represent a steep increase. Your money may simply not go as far when you head up north.
But there might be some good news if you plan to rent, rather than buy, in Montreal or Ottawa. The average two-bedroom rental in Montreal costs around $644 in U.S. dollars, and in Ottawa, the same type of apartment comes in at $934 a month. Monthly rents run higher in Vancouver ($1,850 USD for a one-bedroom) and Toronto ($1,136 for a two-bedroom).
Another encouraging fact is that the cost of Canadian goods and services is generally pretty comparable to U.S. prices. The cost of a gallon of gasoline in Vancouver is around $3.63 in U.S. currency. Depending on where you live, this cost is probably a bit more than what you currently pay at the pumps. The average pair of Canadian jeans will cost you a little over $50, and a 40-inch flat screen TV comes out to be about $385 in U.S. dollars. While some items may be a bit pricier in Canada, this cost may be offset by some surprisingly inexpensive necessities.
Although moving to Canada may be a financially viable option for some, every country has its own issues. If you’re seriously considering leaving the U.S., make sure to do your research first — and pack lots of layers.