Metro Vancouver’s economic growth has bypassed the City

The City of Vancouver is undoubtedly the business, cultural and touristic heart of the Greater Vancouver region. However, its dominance as an employment centre is slipping steadily.

This is not news. The figures below date from 2006.  But judging by online conversations – relating to the function of the new Port Mann Bridge, for example – there are still  people who believe that all traffic on regional roads is bound for the City. The fact is, however, that increasing numbers of City dwellers  travel to suburban municipalities. To take the extreme case, job growth in the South-of-Fraser subregion has been nine times as rapid as job growth in the City over the past generation. Put another way, the City was home to half the jobs in the region in 1981; by 2006, the figure had dropped to 31 per cent.

The emergence of employment centres in Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby and elsewhere has major implications for future investment patterns, for education, culture and tourism, and for the region’s identity.  Metro Vancouver is no longer a set of bedroom communities acting in support of a single cultural hub.  I love the City; but with this blog site I’m working in support of a redefinition of the region, and a better understanding of its component parts.

[Our 2016 check of links found that the source file for the above chart had moved and was no longer easily accessible on the internet. An employment growth forecast for Metro Vancouver had appeared, predicting the City of Vancouver’s share of jobs in the region will drop from 34% in 2006 to 28% in 2041.)

3 responses

  1. I think that’s a very illuminating data table.

    You can also use Census data to more directly measure the dispersion of people movement around the region. You prompted me to put together a few charts on where people living in some of the Fraseropolis municipalities were working (as of the 2006 Census). Vancouver is still one of the main destinations for Fraseropolis residents, but it’s a relatively small percentage and a much larger number are going elsewhere to all sorts of places.

    Here’s the post:

    Great blog by the way!

    Jamie Vann Struth

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