Is Vancouver really the most livable city in the world?
For the fifth year in a row, the Economic Intelligence Unit has ranked Vancouver as the most livable city in the world. With a top notch score of 98 out of 100, the city was ranked highly for its livability according to several factors, such as stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.
But looking beyond this report are factors that make this city unlivable. While Vancouver is considered the most livable by some, it is also ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world. With the lowest minimum wage in the country, sky rocketing real estate prices and the social problems in the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver is considered as one of the most unlivable cities by some Vancouverites.
With the minimum wage set at $8.00 and no increase to this wage since 2001, it is difficult for many Vancouverites to afford living in this city. According to a study conducted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Vancouverites need to make at least $18.17 an hour in order to cover the basic necessities, such as food, rent, childcare and transportation. This has left many living paycheck to paycheck or having to juggle several minimum wage jobs to survive in Vancouver.
In addition to having the lowest minimum wage in the country, Vancouver has been recognized as the most unaffordable city in the country with rising real estate prices. According to the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation, the average price of single detached home in Vancouver is $890,000, which has made it difficult if not impossible for many to afford a home in the city.
Rental prices in the city aren’t cheap either. The average price for a one-bedroom apartment is $940 and a two-bedroom apartment is $1,195. Not surprisingly, Vancouver is at the top of the list for the most expensive city to rent in Canada, with Toronto and Calgary trailing behind.
The lack of affordable housing in Vancouver has also contributed to the homelessness problem in the Downtown Eastside. While there have been initiatives to bring awareness to this problem, the city struggles to provide social housing for those in need.
With these factors considered, Vancouver is often coined as a rich man’s playground and the most livable city for the wealthy. While Vancouver is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the inability to afford to live in this expensive city will have locals flocking to cities that are considerably more affordable. Evidently, this city is considered a luxury for those belonging to a particular social class and a burden for those who struggle to make ends meet.