Originally Posted by Docere
The best sections of Peel (near the lake) are more desirable than Durham, but Peel has more low income sections too.
There are really four sectors in the GTA though running out of the core: west, northwest, north and east. NW and E are the most working class; hence the more affluent sections overall are sort of wedged between the working class NW. W is southern Etobicoke, most of Mississauga, Oakville etc. NW lies west of the Allen Expressway and takes in Downsview, Rexdale, Woodbridge, Brampton etc; N is the the wealthy Yonge/Bayview corridor, Willowdale, Thornhill, Richmond Hill and the Jewish Bathurst Corridor; E is Scarborough, Markham/Unionville east of the 404 and Pickering/Ajax.
Though I suppose one can slice the GTA three ways as well: west (Etobicoke, Peel, Halton); north (the Yorks); east (Scarborough, Durham).
It's does get a little tricky as you're leaving city limits to apply the quadrant model though. Within pre-1950 Toronto in particular, there are very substantial differences in wealth between the quadrants but in the 905 it's much more uniformly middle class.
Woodbridge isn't really less wealthy than Richmond Hill or Thornhill, and seems wealthier on average than Central North York. The Chinese of Milliken, Markham and eastern Richmond Hill often came to Canada with pretty good education levels, and sometimes a fair bit of accumulated wealth, but often brought along elderly relatives that have less of either. They seem to struggle due to the major cultural adjustment including english fluency, but their kids seem to do very well in school and should be quite fluent in english so the next generation will likely be fairly wealthy.
It's not just Durham having fewer blue collar workers than Peel as a whole. But even if you compare individual municipalities and their median or average incomes... ok lets say you exclude Brampton which is somewhat lower-middle class. Durham Region is still higher income than Mississauga, and if you exclude Oshawa, it's higher income by a significant margin.
However, Ajax, Pickering and Whitby are much more less distant bedroom suburbs compared to Mississauga, especially Mississauga south of the 401 and east of the Credit River which is much more mature and integrated into the GTA. That part of Mississauga should be more like Scarborough in some ways, but it seems to be more desirable.
Pickering, Ajax and Whitby also have higher median incomes than Vaughan Richmond Hill and Markham, and except Ajax, also have higher average incomes. Despite that Durham Region has cheaper housing than Peel, and significantly cheaper housing than York. Perhaps it's less about Durham being attractive to the wealthy as unattractive to the poor. York and Peel have better transit, more varied housing options, and better blue collar employment opportunities, partly thanks to better transport connections for trade (airport, railyards, highways).
Meanwhile Halton is far enough from the blue collar employment of Vaughan and Peel that the working class wouldn't want to live there, but the office parks of Mississauga are closer. It has similar housing options to Durham - ie mostly single family - and due to being older, a lot of large lots. Transit for the working class is pretty poor, and is mostly based on commuter rail to downtown Toronto (similar to Durham).