The Real Cost of Moving to Canada (If That's Your Post-Election Plan)

The odds are high that you don't like either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released in late August, 56% of U.S. adults viewed Hillary Clinton unfavorably. The same poll found that 63% said the same about Donald Trump.

No matter who wins the presidential election this November, a lot of people are going to be upset. You might even have heard people claiming that they'd flee to Canada if Trump — or Clinton — wins. Maybe you've even made this boast yourself.

But you might be surprised to learn that life can get costly over the border. Here is a quick look at what you'll pay when you flee to our neighbors to the north after Nov. 8.

Conversion Rate

First, a bit of good news. One U.S. dollar as of Oct. 6 was equal to $1.32 in Canada. So if you head north with $30,000, you'll have a bit more than $39,640 once you cross the U.S./Canadian border.


Hate paying taxes in the United States? Well, you won't like it in Canada, either. The Fraser Institute think tank reported that the average Canadian family spent $34,154 in taxes in 2015. By comparison, NerdWallet in 2015 reported that the average American family paid about $14,000 in taxes. That figure, like the Canadian one, includes real estate, income, and sales taxes.

That difference looks less imposing when you factor in the U.S.-Canada currency conversion rate. In Canadian dollars, the average U.S. family in 2015 paid nearly $26,000 in taxes. That is still quite a bit lower than in Canada.

According to the Fraser Institute, the average Canadian bill for income taxes collected by governments in 2015 was $10,616, while payroll and health taxes came out to an average of $17,160.


Homes are expensive in Canada. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said that the average price of a single-family detached home in Vancouver rose to $1.58 million in September. That comes out to about $1.19 million in U.S. currency.

And Vancouver isn't the only expensive place to buy a home in Canada. The Toronto Real Estate Board said that the average selling price for all home types in Toronto came out to $710,410 in August (about $537,000 in U.S. dollars).

The average selling price for all Canadian homes sold in August of 2016 was $456,722, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. That comes out to about $345,000 in U.S. currency. In comparison, the National Association of Realtors said that the average sales price for all homes sold in the United States in August was $240,200.

Renting an Apartment

So maybe you'll rent an apartment instead. That's pretty costly, too.

According to RentGorilla, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver in September of 2016 came in at $2,445 a month, equal to about $1,850 in the United States. In Toronto, the average two-bedroom rent was $1,502 the same month, equal to $1,136 in the United States.

In Ottawa, the average two-bedroom rent was $1,235, while in Montreal it stood at $852. Those last two, by the way, are quite affordable, coming out to $934 and about $644 respectively in the United States.

Goods and Services

What about basic necessities, everything from a gallon of gas to a gallon of milk? You'll find that with the conversion factor, prices in Canada are similar to what you'd pay for the same items in the United States.

Consider a gallon of gasoline. According to the Expatistan Cost of Living Index, a liter of gas — which is equal to one quarter of a gallon — came out to $1.20 in Vancouver. That means a gallon of gas would cost an average of $4.80 in the city. That comes out to $3.63 in U.S. currency, a bit higher than what you'd pay at the pump in most U.S. cities today.

Two liters of Coca-Cola, though, come out to an average of $2.48 in Toronto, according to Expatistan. That comes out to $1.88 in U.S. money. A pair of jeans here costs an average of $68, or $51.46 in U.S. currency.

In Montreal, a 40-inch flat screen TV costs an average of $509, according to Expatistan. That comes out to about $385 in U.S. money, while a pair of athletic shoes sell for an average of $110 in Montreal, equal to about $83 in the United States.

Cost-of-Living Comparisons

Expatistan compiled its own cost-of-living comparisons between Canadian cities and several in the United States. As you'll see, if you live in higher-priced areas of the United States, you might actually find it cheaper to live in Canada.

For instance, the cost of living in Toronto is 9% cheaper than it is in Chicago, according to Expatistan. And it's 32% cheaper to live there than it is in New York City. On the other hand, Toronto's cost of living is 24% more expensive than it is in Omaha and 30% more than in Iowa City.

Expatistan estimates that it is 35% cheaper to live in Vancouver than it is San Francisco and 15% cheaper than Seattle. However, it is 15% more expensive to live in Vancouver than it is Wichita and 7% more expensive than living in Columbus. So much like the election, it's really up to you.

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Guest's picture
Kyle Burbank

My wife and I actually considered moving to Canada for a time (not for political reasons) and was surprised by how affordable Toronto was in terms of rent for a city of its size. However it seems that most people looking to flee to the north forget that there are procedures to follow to when immigrating there — you can't just pack up and go like it's the 51st state!

Guest's picture

You have ignored health care which in Canada is largely paid for in taxes and in US is paid out of pocket.