Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta. It is the most northern metropolis of over one million residents in North America and it is the fifth-largest city and the sixth-largest metropolitan area in Canada.
The city on the North Saskatchewan River is the cultural, governmental and educational centre of the province. Edmond is one of the sunniest cities in Canada because it gets 325 sunny days per year on average.
At 7,300 hectares, the Edmonton River Valley is the largest urban green space in North America. It is bigger that all of Manhattan and 18 times bigger than Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Edmonton is considered the gateway to the north because of its connections via railways, roads, and air to places in the far north of the country.
In this article, we have gathered information about the cost of living in Edmonton. We have included information on taxes, buying and renting property, childcare, groceries and utilities, all the necessities in life. We have also included information about the cost of hobbies and entertainment.
What is a livable wage in Edmonton?
Before we look at the livable wage in Edmonton, we need to understand what is meant by the term livable wage. It is the amount of income an individual needs to have a decent standard of living. A living wage should pay for the cost of living in a location, including recreational activities, and leaves some money to put into savings.
Living wage differs from minimum wage, which is mandated by law to keep employees above the poverty level in their area. However, often the minimum wage is not enough to provide one with adequate means to live. Therefore, a living wage will give you a more accurate idea of what you need to earn to live comfortably in an area.
The living wage in Edmonton is $18.10, which is slightly less than in Calgary where the living wage is $18.60. However, the minimum wage for the province is only $15.00, so anyone actually earning the minimum wage would have challenges in making their wages last.
Anyone looking into the cost of living in Edmonton will be happy to learn that the city has one of the lowest income tax rates in Canada. When most cities have their lowest threshold between $29,000 and $49,000, in Edmonton, and the rest of Alberta, the lowest threshold is $131,200 and you only pay 10% of your taxable income.
Even in the highest tax bracket, when you are earning above $314,928, you will still only pay 15% income tax on your taxable income. But how do these figures compare with other cities in Canada?
If we look at the top bracket, four provinces have a lower tax rate and one that is equal, which is in Yukon. The three provinces that have lower top bracket tax rates are the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan and Ontario. You might be interested in knowing that the highest rate is in Quebec, where the top bracket income tax is 25.75%.
Property prices in Canada have been going up in the recent years, and Edmonton is no exception. The price of an average home in Edmonton rose by 9.4% between April 2021 and April 2022. A detached home for a single family in Edmonton now costs $510,000 and the average townhouse $409,000.
Despite the rising prices, Edmonton is still one of the most affordable cities to buy a property in Canada. You will get a lot more for your money in Edmonton compared to Vancouver or Toronto where an average house will cost you over $1.2 million.
Edmonton is also cheaper than Montreal where an average house costs $555,000 and Calgary with $532,000. However, it is more expensive than Winnipeg where an average home is $369,000.
If you are looking to rent instead of buying, you’ll want to know how rents in Edmonton compare to other cities. The good news is that renting is cheaper, too. If you were to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Edmonton city centre, you would be looking at the second cheapest rents compared to all major cities. The only one cheaper is Winnipeg.
If you plan to use the public transport in Edmonton, a monthly travel pass will cost you just over $100. But that $100 doesn’t necessarily get you the most reliable service. Edmonton’s public transport has a reputation for being unreliable. It is also not that great outside the city centre.
Because of the issues with the public transport system, many people opt to use their own cars in Edmonton. The good news for all car owners in Edmonton is that the city has some of the cheapest gasoline prices in Canada. At the time of writing, a liter of gasoline will cost you $1.28 in Edmonton.
When we look at how much money will go towards utilities, we need to include the cost of heating, cooling, electricity and refuge collection in this bundle. Edmonton has the second highest utilities costs in a major Canadian city. Your utilities will cost you $230 for an 85m² apartment.
One of the reasons for the higher cost is the long, cold and dark winters in Edmonton, which means that you spend more on heating and electricity to keep your home warm and light.
You also need to consider the cost of your internet connection and your mobile. The current average for the internet is $88 and the per minute cost for prepaid local tariff is $0.38.
Your monthly grocery expenses will depend on whether you like to cook or prefer someone cooking for you. Going out for a for a three course meal for two people will cost you $90 on average.
Since you are unlikely to eat out for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, let’s have a look at the cost of some basic groceries in Edmonton.
Milk (regular), (1 liter)
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)
Rice (white), (1kg)
Eggs (regular) (12)
Local Cheese (1kg)
Chicken Fillets (1kg)
1.5 litre bottle of water
How do these prices compare with other cities in Canada? Overall, for the price of groceries, Edmonton sits roughly in the middle of the table.
Hobbies and Entertainment
Since the livable wage should also be enough for recreation activities, we have looked at the cost of some leisure-time activities in Halifax. If you would like to go to the cinema with a friend or a partner, then tickets for two adults would cost you, on average, just over $30.
The cost of a monthly gym pass averages at $55.19 and hiring a tennis court for one hour over the weekend costs around $24.75. How do these prices compare with other cities in Canada?
The price of a single cinema ticket ranges from $12.99 to $15.11. There are bigger differences in the tennis and gym prices. The rent for a tennis court costs you just over ten dollars in the cheapest cities and $36 in the most expensive. Gym passes cost $36 in the cheapest city and $68 in the most expensive. Interestingly, London has the most expensive tennis court rent, but the cheapest gym.
If you have children, then the cost of childcare must be considered within the cost of living. Primary and secondary education is free in Canada, unless you wish to enter your child or children into a private school. The yearly tuition fees in Edmonton’s private schools range from $2,950 to $36,200 per year with an average tuition of $14,949 per year.
In the recent years, the province has made a commitment to invest in childcare to make it more affordable and accessible. Part of this commitment is to give child care providers grants so they can lower the fees for all parents.
Under the new scheme, the average child care costs will be $10 per day for families earning less that $119,999, between $11 and $17 per day for families earning between $120,000 and $179,999 and for those who earn more than $180,000, the cost will be $22.19 per day.
Cost of Living Index
Another way to look at how much it will cost you to live in a city is to look at the cost-of-living index. The cost-of-living index combines the cost of the day-to-day expenses in an area, including categories such as utilities, groceries and travel. This will give you a figure that is then compared to a baseline of one hundred. The further below the baseline the place is, the cheaper the cost-of-living.
Using the cost-of-living index, Edmonton is the tenth most expensive city in Canada, with a score of 74.34. The highest cost-of-living indexes in Canada are in St John’s and Victoria. St Catharines and Hamilton have the lowest scores in Canada in a comparison of 29 cities.
Edmonton has low taxes and cheaper houses than many other Canadian cities, but the cost of utilities is high. This increases its cost-of-living index and places it just within the top ten of the highest scores.
Local Purchasing Power
The final category we can look at is Edmonton’s ranking for local purchasing power among the Canadian cities. What do we mean by local purchasing power?
Local purchasing power is calculated by comparing the average household income for the area with the cost of living. The result is then compared to what the same amount would get you in New York. The higher your score, the better your money will last in your area.
As an example, if the purchasing power for an area is 50, that means a resident in that area with an average salary can afford to buy 50% fewer goods and services than a New York resident earning an average salary.
Edmonton has a local purchasing power of 92.2, which is the eight highest in the country. The best index in Canada goes to Calgary that has a purchasing power of 107.68. The residents in Nanaimo have the lowest purchasing power at only 49.18.
If you are considering where to live based on the living costs for the area, then Edmonton fares pretty well among Canadian cities. True, it might have some of the highest costs of utilities, but that is compensated by lower accommodation costs and lower income tax rates.
Edmonton does well on the local purchasing power chart. People on an average wage have a lot more spending power than in places like Nanaimo, which scored the lowest. And if you are earning above the average wage, then your spending power in Edmonton is even greater.
And there is one more thing to add that speaks for Edmonton as a good place to live regarding the cost of living. The city has a median household income of $73,300. This is the second highest in the country after Calgary.
Overall, Edmonton is a good choice if you want to get on the property ladder, pay less taxes, live in a city that subsidizes child care, has a high median household income and strong purchasing power index to make your money go further.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do you need to earn in Edmonton to live comfortably?
You need to earn at least $18.10 per hour to live comfortably in Edmonton. This is less than for example Nova Scotia where the property prices are similar, yet you need at least $18.45 to live comfortably.
Is it easy to get on the property ladder in Edmonton?
While property prices have been climbing across Canada, and Edmonton is no exception, it is easier to get on the property ladder in Edmonton compared to many other cities. In May 2022, the average home cost $510,000 in Edmonton compared to over a million dollars in Vancouver or Toronto.
How does Edmonton compare with other Canadian cities?
Looking at the cost-of-living index, which takes into account costs such as housing, food, transport and so forth, Edmonton is the 10th most expensive city in Canada.