According to a study from The School of Public Policy Publications, Canada’s largest cities like Vancouver and Toronto are ranking well, but in small and mid-sized cities life isn’t as rosy as it once was, or as it is believed to be.
Over the past two decades, demographic changes in the Canadian urban landscape indicate a bit of a ‘wake-up’ call for those who associate Canada’s overall success with the success of the larger cities.
Many small and mid-sized cities are faring far worse than expected compared their big city counterparts. Populations are aging, employment rates are low, and poverty and the population of low-income families is rising.
The study looked at six variables to calculate a city’s ‘vitality score’:
- Population increase
- Net migration
- Household income
- Increase in household income (based on 2011 and 2016 census data)
- Employment rate of adults ages 25-64
- Low income
While bigger cities in Canada have been considered a more desirable place to settle down because of economic expansion and higher employment rates, smaller cities in Saskatchewan have bucked the trend discovered in this study and found a niche for economic grown and prosperity.
Regina and Saskatoon had some of the best ‘vitality scores’ — not just of the mid-sized cities, but across all of Canada, placing 12th and 13th of all cities included in the study.
John Hopkins, Regina & District Chamber of Commerce CEO, says, “There is opportunity here and this is a great place to raise a family, a great place to do a lot of the things that (are) a little bit more complicated in a bigger city.”
When asked why people should consider settling in a smaller city like Regina, he adds, “Regina is affordable when you look at taxes, and the opportunities here for people to come and take advantage of jobs.
“That’s the primary reason, because there are jobs and opportunities here.”
Saskatchewan is also alluring for investors because of plans to improve upon an already strong agriculture sector, its status as the second-largest producer of oil in Canada, and the largest producer of potash in the world.
Yorkton, Swift Current, Estevan, Weyburn and Lloydminster all scored high ‘vitality scores’, proving Saskatchewan is an enticing place to build a life.
Large cities have overall prospered across Canada. All of the major cities continue to grow and are on solid economic ground, despite the high cost of living.
The study illustrated a grim reality for many Canadian small and mid-sized cities in the Atlantic region, Quebec, B.C. and Ontario, but the future is bright in Saskatchewan.
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