Is Vancouver really such a great place to live? MoneySense doesn’t think so

Some rankings classify Vancouver as one of the most livable cities in the world, but not all studies come to the same conclusion   

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Some rankings classify Vancouver as one of the most livable cities in the world, but not all studies come to the same conclusion.

In MoneySense magazine’s annual list of the best places to live in Canada, Vancouver doesn’t make it into the top 10 – or the top 40.

Out of a total of 209 cities, Vancouver comes in at number 46 – down from 39 last year. When population size is taken into consideration, the city ranks ninth out of 15 large cities across the country.

So why the huge discrepancy between other studies that rank Vancouver so favourably compared with other cities across the world? Not all studies look at the same criteria. For example, The Economist’s list that found Vancouver to be the third most livable city in the world (and tops in North America) looked at such factors as healthcare, infrastructure, environment and education – but it did not consider affordability.

The MoneySense ranking gave Vancouver poor marks for unemployment, income levels and housing affordability.

Vancouver is consistently listed as the most expensive city in Canada. One example of this can be found in last year’s cost-of-living survey released by Mercer. The cost of housing is constantly top of mind for Vancouverites, with the average home selling for more than double that of the Canadian average.

More so than in any other region of the country, first-home buyers in Vancouver are looking to their families for help when it comes to buying property. Two weeks ago, news that the average price for a detached house in the city topped $1.04 million led to a rally to protest the high cost of housing.

Out of all cities across the country, MoneySense ranked Boucherville, Quebec as the best place to live. Low unemployment, high incomes and affordable housing pushed this small suburb to the top of the list.

When only large cities are considered, Ottawa comes in top spot. This is followed by Quebec, Calgary and Winnipeg.

Not all cities in the Lower Mainland scored as poorly as Vancouver. The District Municipality of North Vancouver came in ninth place overall. West Vancouver was number 11, Delta was 13th and the City of North Vancouver was 20th. Port Moody and Port Coquitlam also squeaked in ahead of Vancouver, at numbers 32 and 34, respectively.

A full ranking can be found here.

ecrawford@biv.com

@EmmaHampelBIV