Vancouver Residents Were Moving To Rural BC, and Abbotsford Before The Pandemic

Greater Vancouver residents have been fleeing to the country. New Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data shows the migration pattern of people from Vancouver CMA in 2019. Tens of thousands of former residents ditched the city for other parts of the country. Rural B.C. was the biggest winner of former residents, but so were other big cities like Toronto and Calgary. Let’s take a quick dive into which markets are attracting those leaving Vancouver.

Over 45,000 People Migrated To Other Parts of Canada

There were 45,481 people that left the Greater Vancouver region in 2019, for other parts of Canada. This is down 6.66% from the year before, when a recent record of people leaving was set. It’s not the largest number, and it fell from the year before. However, it’s still a significant number of people.

Rural B.C. Is The Biggest Winner of People Leaving Vancouver

Rural B.C. is the number one place to attract former Greater Vancouver residents. There were 5,751 residents that left Vancouver for areas in BC, outside of any CMA in 2019. This represents a drop of 9.67% compared to a year before. Overall, this represents 12.57% of the total migration, the biggest single data point. The total number of people is lower, but it’s still the most popular place for people to move.

Greater Vancouver Migration Within Canada

The destination and share of people who relocated within Canada from Vancouver CMA in 2019. Only destinations with a share greater than 1% are included.
Source: Stat Can, Better Dwelling.

Smaller cities in the province also managed to attract a fair number of people. The second most popular spot was Abbotsford-Mission. The area received 5,180 people from Vancouver in 2019, about 11.32% of the total migration. Victoria has the third largest migration in the province, and it’s the fourth most popular spot, with 3,164 people moving there in 2019. This represents about 6.92% of the total migration, a big drop from Abbotsford’s ratio. 

One In Ten People That Left Vancouver, Went To Toronto

Outside of BC, Toronto and Calgary are the most popular CMAs for people leaving Vancouver. Toronto received 4,679 people in 2019, a drop of 1.62% from a year before. This represents about 10.23% of people that left, or just over one in ten. Calgary received 2,775 former Vancouver residents, up 1.95% from a year before. This represents about 6.00% of those that left. Both are still very popular, but Calgary is one of the few big cities to see their share climb in the year.  

The data was recently released, but measures trends before the pandemic – which feels like ages ago. Still, the pandemic is believed to have only accelerated home buying in the suburbs. Considering there’s been a multi-year trend of people migrating to these particular regions, it’s likely the pandemic didn’t change where people were heading.

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One Comment


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  • Crazy Times 3 years ago

    This isn’t surprising at all given how expensive it is to live in the Vancouver area. Anyone from here knows, and if they don’t own property have likely already considered doing this if they haven’t outright done it yet. That or they know others in this boat.

    Real estate is absurdly high, as is rent. Something’s gotta give – either prices come down, or future generations are going to suffer greatly

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