Growing number of Canadians migrating to BC by U-Haul during COVID-19

Jan 6 2021, 10:09 am

New data released by U-Haul suggests more Canadians are choosing to migrate to the westernmost province during the COVID-19 pandemic.

British Columbia and New Brunswick tied as the leading growth provinces for relocating activities using the company’s do-it-yourself moving vehicles. The growth calculation is based on the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks arriving in an area versus the number of trucks departing from the same area.

Within BC in 2020, there was a 3.3% increase in arrivals versus a 2.6% increase in departures. New Brunswick surged up the list in 2020, after ranking 10th for growth in 2019.

Neighbouring Alberta ranked third in growth, representing a one-spot increase from the previous year.

Ontario was the only province to record more movers leave its borders than enter.

Three cities in the Lower Mainland ranked within the top 10 U-Haul Canadian growth cities, with North Vancouver ranking second, Vancouver at seventh, and Chilliwack at eighth. Abbotsford carried a ranking of 11th.

Moreover, Vancouver was the only major city in Canada to be ranked in the top 25 cities list.

The company indicated there were growth rates of 16% in Vancouver, 32% in Chilliwack, 26% in Abbotsford, and 52% in Nanaimo/Coombs.

“While U-Haul migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, the company’s growth data is an effective gauge of how well cities are attracting and maintaining residents,” reads a release.

The pandemic affected interprovincial migration and immigration, particularly during the first few months during its onset, before rebounding starting in the late spring.

Based on Statistics Canada’s quarterly estimates of interprovincial migration, there was a net gain of 3,500 migrants in BC during the first quarter of 2020, with 15,123 in-migrants and 11,623 out-migrants.

Over the second quarter, analysts estimate there were 21,561 in-migrants and 13,621 out-migrants, representing a net gain of 7,940, while the third quarter saw 13,460 in-migrants and 8,718 out-migrants, representing an increase of 4,742.

Much of interprovincial is typically performed by air travel, but it is possible that greater numbers than usual migrated using services such as U-Haul due to prevailing health safety concerns with flying.

2020 provinces ranked by migration growth: U-Haul

1/2= British Columbia (up from 2nd in 2019)
1/2= New Brunswick (up from 10th in 2019)
3. Alberta (up from 4th in 2019)
4. Quebec (down from 3rd in 2019)
5. Nova Scotia (up from 9th in 2019)
6. Newfoundland and Labrador (down 5th in 2019)
7. Prince Edward Island (down from 6th in 2019)
8. Saskatchewan (down from 7th in 2019)
9. Manitoba (down from 8th in 2019)
10. Ontario (down from 1st in 2019)

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