Fraser Institute News Release: Median income in Vancouver nearly $24,000 less than in Seattle—B.C. cities rank low in regional income rankings

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov. 07, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The median income for workers in Seattle dwarfs the median income for workers in Vancouver, underscoring a general prosperity gap between British Columbia and its regional neighbours, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan, Canadian public policy think-tank.

“At a time when affordability is top of mind, workers in B.C. make considerably less money than their counterparts in other jurisdictions,” said Ben Eisen, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute and co-author of Measuring British Columbia’s Prosperity Gap at the Metropolitan Level.

The study—which compared the median employment income of 59 large urban areas in B.C., Alberta, Washington, Alaska, California, Oregon, Montana and Idaho—found that Vancouver ranks 48th with a median income of $37,300, significantly lower than Seattle ($61,056), which ranks 3rd, and well below the average median income of the 59 urban areas ($43,810).

Beyond Vancouver, the remaining six urban areas in B.C. also rank low beginning with Victoria (42nd at $37,890) followed by Kamloops (52nd $36,060), Chilliwack (54th at $33,650), Kelowna (55th at $33,540), Abbotsford-Mission (56th at $33,070) and Nanaimo (57th at $32,770).

“Many British Columbians would likely be surprised to learn that workers in next-door Washington make substantially more than they do,” Eisen said.

“With its relatively low median employment income, Vancouver is an outlier among big cities in the western part of Canada and the United States,” Eisen said.

Ben Eisen, Senior Fellow
Fraser Institute

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit