In 2010, Peterborough had the lowest average hourly wage among 34 major centres in Canada. In a study released last month by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Peterborough workers made $17.78 an hour on average last year. Meanwhile, at the top of the list, Sudburians made $41.24 an hour.

In the same year, Canada’s average hourly wages went up 2.1 per cent. Peterborough was one of only six centres where wages declined. In Peterborough, average hourly wages decreased by 1.7%, behind Gatineau at 3.1% and Sherbrooke at 5.6%. Barrie, London and Calgary all experienced slightly smaller declines.

To afford rent without spending more than 30% of income, Canadians had to work 122 hours a month on average last year. This figure represents a small increase of about one hour over the 2009 rates.

In Peterborough though, workers had to put in an additional 5.6 hours over 2009 to afford rent — the sharpest increase in the country.

The city also had the distinction of being the centre where workers had to work the most number of hours a month to afford rent: 168. At the other end of the spectrum, workers in Saguenay only had to work 57 hours to afford rent.

Peterborough also has the highest number of renters in Canada who are in “core housing need,” according to Statistics Canada. That means they are unable to afford housing that meets adequacy, suitability, and affordability requirements.

Recent immigrants, at nearly triple the rate of all Canadians combined, are the most likely to be in core housing need in Canada, followed by lone parent families, single people over 65, and Indigenous people.