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Metro Vancouver’s immigrants more likely to prefer walkable urban neighbourhoods: new report

September 9, 2023

By Vancouver Sun |

Immigrants in Metro Vancouver are more likely than longer-term residents to prefer denser housing types in urban environments near public transit, a new survey has found.

These findings, among others, appear in a report going this week to Metro Vancouver’s regional planning committee, investigating why the region’s residents live where they do, where they would prefer to live, and what differences exist between longer-term residents and more recent arrivals.

Earlier phases of Metro’s research focused on what kinds of housing residents had and who lived where. Metro is now focusing on exploring preferences.

The survey was conducted earlier this year by the national polling firm Leger.

Considering most population growth in Metro Vancouver is driven by immigration, this is important information for decision-makers to have, said Tim Chan, a Vancouver-based associate vice-president with Leger.

It comes at a time when the federal government has raised immigration levels, with a plan to welcome 500,000 immigrants by 2025. By comparison, Canada’s 2015 target was 300,000.

Federal leaders have said increased immigration is necessary for the country’s economy. Immigration Minister Marc Miller told The Canadian Press last month that the government “can’t afford to reduce” immigration targets, because an aging population risks straining the country’s finances as the tax base shrinks and health-care demands increase.

At the same time, many say this influx of new residents will require a dramatic increase in housing construction, both in B.C. and nationally, especially in areas with already tight residential markets.

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