The data miners at Vancouver-based Mountain Doodles have provided statistics that counters commonly cited anecdotal evidence that young professionals are leaving the city over unaffordable housing costs.
They argue that the patterns being experienced in Metro Vancouver are normal for all major growing cities, where some people leave and even more people come in to replace them.
Statistics Canada’s census data shows Metro Vancouver added more young university graduates than those that left between 2006 and 2016.
This is based on a breakdown of individuals within relevant age groups with bachelor’s degrees and those without.
“Young people with university degrees continued to arrive in greater numbers than they left well through their thirties and on into their forties (we like to think of forties as young),” wrote Jens von Bergmann with Mountain Doodles.
“The age labels here refer to people’s ‘in-between’ age, that is the ages they mostly passed through between 2006 and 2016 (i.e. the age range each group was in 2011). It’s only once those with university degrees hit their fifties that we start to see roughly even flows in Vancouver.”
Similar overall patterns were experienced in the metropolitan regions of Calgary and Toronto, but Montreal saw a steeper drop with university degree holders in their 40s.
“We do not have to worry about a ‘brain drain’ in growing cities like Vancouver. Moreover, we don’t have to worry about professionals leaving. Due to better pay, professionals are better equipped to deal with a tight housing market than most others,” he continued, adding that “professionals may also have higher expectations about what kinds of housing they deem acceptable than others, but people adapt.”
“Building more housing would certainly give professionals more options to choose from, and we might want to relax our millionaire zoning to direct professionals toward competing with the independently wealthy rather than the poor and working class. But it’s the poor and working class we should really be worried about losing.”