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Vancouver incomes rise from lowest to third-lowest

Vancouver family incomes are higher than Toronto or Montreal - but still much lower than most other Canadian cities

Vancouver median family incomes grew by 11.2 per cent between 2012 and 2015.

Metro file

Vancouver median family incomes grew by 11.2 per cent between 2012 and 2015.

Vancouver has reversed a trend of ranking at the very bottom of major Canadian cities when it comes to income levels, according to data released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday.

Vancouver’s perennially low income levels compared to its record high real estate has been a concern for economists and politicians for years. Between 2008 and 2012, Vancouver steadily fell from its spot third from the bottom in income in 2008 and 2009, to dead last by 2011.

But data from the 2016 census released today shows that Vancouver has once again crawled up in the rankings, and again surpasses Toronto and Montreal for 2015, the last year for which data is available. Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal tend to sit at the bottom of incomes, with Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa and Regina trading spots for the four highest income levels.

Median total income for families (couples with or without children and lone parent families), selected cities.

Data source: Statistics Canada

Median total income for families (couples with or without children and lone parent families), selected cities.

While provinces reliant on oil and gas experienced a downturn due to falling oil prices starting in 2014, B.C.’s — and especially Vancouver’s — economy has been booming over the past three years.

Despite that downturn in the oil sector, Statistics Canada notes that provinces with strong resource sectors had rapid income growth, while provinces with prominent manufacturing sectors had much weaker growth in incomes. The Atlantic provinces and Quebec had the lowest median incomes, while the prairie provinces had the highest.

That strong income growth in the resource sector can also been seen in B.C., where communities like Cranbrook, Dawson Creek, Terrace and Fort St. John saw double-digit income growth between 2005 and 2015. Vancouver incomes grew by 11.2 per cent over that same time period, which was below the provincial rate of growth of 12.2 per cent.

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