Measuring British Columbia's Prosperity Gap at the Metropolitan Level

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Measuring British Columbia's Prosperity Gap at the Metropolitan Level


  • A recent study published by the Fraser Institute found that a “prosperity gap” exists between British Columbia and nearby Canadian and American jurisdictions.
  • Specifically, British Columbia is an economic laggard with respect to key measures of income, with the relevant gaps widening in recent years.
  • This new research bulletin provides further analysis of these indicators by examining median employment income in 59 large metropolitan areas in Western Canada (CMAs) and nearby American states (MSAs).
  • We find that for this important indicator of labour market and overall economic health, British Columbia’s metro areas are clustered near the bottom of the overall rankings. Five of the worst eight performers are in British Columbia. All seven of British Columbia’s metro areas are in the bottom half of the league.
  • This study also measures growth in median employment earnings during the 2010s. On this indicator, British Columbia CMAs perform somewhat better. Six of the province’s seven CMAs were found in the middle third of the rankings.
  • Taken together, these analyses show that British Columbia’s metropolitan areas face a substantial “prosperity gap” compared to regional neighbours. Further, this gap did not meaningfully close over the course of the 2010s, and in many cases grew.

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