The Brain Drain
Even temporary residents such as university students are affected by Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis.
The Brain Drain
Even temporary residents such as university students are affected by Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis. People that receive a world-class education at the University of British Columbia (UBC) discover very quickly that even with advanced qualifications they will never be able to buy their own home in the city where they were educated. As a result, university students and skilled workers move to other provinces as Vancouver has become an increasingly unlivable city, with a critical housing shortage and an ongoing housing affordability crisis, plaguing Vancouver with shelters and homelessness.
Some have argued that pricing people out of the housing market has caused Vancouver to suffer a brain drain. University students and young people get their degrees, then leave to settle in other cities where housing is more affordable. For those who stay, they must resign themselves to high rents, higher demand on rental units, and likely never owning a home. According to the 2016 census, 53 percent of Vancouver citizens are now renters. Vancouver is a “city of renters” obsessed with homeownership. “We need to embrace that Vancouver is a ‘city of renters’ with more than half of households living in rentals,” said Dan Garrison, the assistant director for the city’s Department of Planning, Urban Design, and Sustainability. Many of these renters have high incomes, and landlords know they can get higher rents, which explains why renovictions are on the rise. Vancouver is a city of renters, yet renters are viewed as a burden.
Data analyst Jens Von Bergmann denies there is a brain drain; instead, he argues, there is a cyclical revolving door of professionals. “There is no brain drain, but there might be zombies: Digging into yet another round of claims of some group of people leaving Vancouver.” Mountain Doodles, February 3, 2019 https://doodles.mountainmath.ca/blog/2019/02/03/there-is-no-brain-drain-but-there-might-be-zombies/. ↵
This does not mean folks are staying to buy 2.5 million dollar homes; therefore recycling “brain drainers” does NOT mean a successful affordable housing situation.
 Nick England. (May 1, 2020) .Vancouver Sun. https://vancouversun.com/news/covid-19-vancouver-city-staff-propose-drastic-housing-changes