Ontario residents are flowing out of the big cities, and looking for something a little more quaint. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data shows intraprovincial migration for 2020. Rural regions are showing the biggest net-inflows of Ontario residents relocating within the province. Although almost everywhere in Ontario saw more people arrive than leave. Toronto being one of the few, and notable exceptions.
Net Intraprovincial Migration
The net intraprovincial migration is the balance of people moving within the province. If a region has a positive number, more people in Ontario moved there than left for other parts of the province. If the number is negative, the opposite happened – more people left than arrived. You can guess why it’s better to have a positive flow than negative, but let’s spell it out for the people in the back.
Generally it’s a good thing to see a regional government attract more people. Outflows tend to show locals see better value or opportunities in other places. Immigration can patch that issue in the near term. However, eventually immigrants just move to the more attractive region. If you attract a lot of locals, it’s only time before everyone moving to the province sees what locals do.
Toronto Is The Biggest Loser of People To Other Parts of Ontario
First, let’s start with where everyone is fleeing from – Toronto. Intraprovincial migration has accelerated in size since 2015, doubling by last year. The latest numbers show a net loss of 50,375 people in 2020. This was 3,826 people higher than the year before, and the biggest number in at least 20 years of data. The only other region to see a net loss to intraprovincial migration is Windsor, and it was only 44 people. Toronto might shrug this off short-term, because it can replace locals fairly fast. However, the region is entirely dependent on immigration, and that pattern is not shifting to any other places in the country.
Ontario Net Intraprovincial MigrationThe balance of migration within Ontario. Postive numbers indicate more people from Ontario moved to the region than left for other parts of the province. Source: Stat Can, Better Dwelling.
Rural Ontario Is The Most Popular Place To Move
The market chatter isn’t just a rumor, people in Ontario are actually moving out to the country. Areas outside of CMAs saw a net intraprovincial increase of 10,392 people in 2020, up 539 people from the year before. This is the fifth year to see an increase, for a trend that was negative until 2015. Coincidentally, that’s also the year Toronto’s outflow ramps up.
Top 3 Markets Attracting Ontarians Are Within 2 Hours of Toronto
The top 3 cities attracting Ontarians are within a 2 hour drive of Toronto, the city they’re likely leaving. Oshawa saw the biggest intraprovincial net increase with 6,114 people in 2020, up 918 people from a year before. Hamilton is in second with 3,627 people, up 647 people from last year. The Niagara region comes in third with a net inflow of 3,243 people, up 363 people from a year before. Ottawa isn’t a top 3, but it is number 4 on the list, with a net increase of 3,190 people, down 428 people from the year before. All of these regions are outperforming Toronto in terms of home prices, and you guess why.
The urban flight narrative is true to some degree, but that’s not the whole story. Rural Ontario is attracting more people from the cities, that’s true. However, every other city but Toronto and Windsor’s tiny blip, is net positive. This is less of an urban flight, and more of a flight from Toronto.
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