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What is the cost of living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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For years, Vancouver has been one of the most expensive cities in Canada, along with Toronto. But what is the cost of living in Vancouver? Why does it cost so much to live in Vancouver?

The cost of living in Vancouver is higher than the average cost of living in most other cities in Canada. There are many factors that contribute to why the cost of living is so high, including the geography, healthcare, availability of space for housing development, tourism, quality of life, and some other variables that we are going to review in this article. Let’s take a look at some of the detailed costs. 

Average Cost of Living

The average cost of living in Vancouver is higher than the national average. The city is a popular tourist destination and a high cost of living is to be expected. Compared to other North American cities, Vancouver is a more expensive city to live in, but the high standard of living and great quality of life make this a city worth visiting or even moving to

In 2021, the average salary in Vancouver is around CAD $73k (USD $58k), or an hourly wage of C$35. The monthly cost of living for a single person is around CAD $1200 (USD $950), and the average for a family of four is CAD $4400 (USD $3400), excluding rent. 

Rent Prices

Rent prices in Vancouver are very expensive, especially if you want to live in the city center. If you are willing to go outside the city, prices can be between 20 and 40% cheaper. Let’s have a look at the main differences.

Rent prices in city center

Rent prices outside city center

Utility Costs

It is important to note that some rentals in Vancouver include utilities in the rent cost, so this definitely helps with the overall price. 

A 2 bedroom apartment of around 85 m2 can come with an extra $100 to $150 (USD $80 to $120) a month for electricity, gas, cooling, water and heating. Internet and cable can be around $80 (USD $64) on top of that.

Home owners are the ones to pay for water and garbage pick-up, so if you are renting, you don’t have to worry about those costs. If you are a home owner, you can expect to pay $70 (USD $55) more a month for that, and around $500 (USD $400) more for maintenance fees.

If you want cleaning help, you can expect to pay an hourly rate of $26.

Grocery Prices

Groceries are quite expensive in Vancouver, but salaries are higher too, so the impact of groceries is not as terrible as it might look just by looking at the prices. Here are some examples of typical groceries for reference:

Healthcare Costs

The healthcare system in Canada is one of the best in the world. All citizens and residents that live in British Columbia are covered by the Medical Services Plan (MSP), which is charged monthly and paid through wages. This includes cover for general doctors and specialists, surgeries, eye examinations, x-rays and some other services. 

Education Costs

Vancouver has a well-respected public-school system that has received international praise. In Canada there is no need to get private education to have an advantage, and you can be safe knowing Canada is one of the most educated countries in the world.

Public schools are funded by the government, and if you want to enroll your children in a private school or international school in Vancouver, don’t be surprised to find yearly fees that start at CAD $10000 (USD $7900) and go all the way up to CAD $60000 (USD $47000).

Entertainment Costs

People in Vancouver live a healthy lifestyle and like to stay active. Activities like walking, cycling, running and skate-boarding are quite popular in this city. 

Going to the movies can cost around $15, and if you want VIP treatment you can find more comfortable seats or chair-side service for around $20 a ticket

NHL Hockey is a big sport and seats can be quite pricey, but you can find some for as little as $50, and going all the way up to $400-$500. 

Big singers and bands choose Vancouver for their concerts, which can range from $150 to $300 and even higher, depending on the celebrity. 

Going our for dinner can be a good option, with a $55 price tag for a dinner for two in a pub, or up to $130 if you want a fancier 3-course dinner at a more expensive restaurant

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