For Immediate Release
May 2, 2024

VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade commissioned The Business of Cities to conduct the inaugural Benchmarking Greater Vancouver Report, assessing how the Greater Vancouver region measures up to leading international peer cities on our economic performance, infrastructure & sustainability, and liveability.

  • This inaugural benchmarking reveals that there is a significant gap between how Greater Vancouver is globally perceived and the region's actual performance.
  • This gap in our performance shows our economy is underperforming, with our region rated 14th among 20 peer cities for 'Prosperity'. We have been unable to translate our highly skilled workforce and world-class post-secondary institutions into higher incomes and our productivity is in the bottom half of more than 100 global regions.
  • Greater Vancouver is among the top half of its peers for the rate of start-ups, but early-stage capital and scale is a challenge.
  • Housing still dominates local challenges as homeownership is the 3rd most unaffordable English-speaking housing market and the average renter spends more of their income on housing than in any other English-speaking peer city bar none. We continue to lead in environmental performance, ranking 3rd in 'Sustainability and Resilience', as a leader for clean energy, decarbonization and green space per person.
  • Despite the strongest bounce back in public transit ridership of any major North American city region, reliance on the car has grown more quickly than the average peer city. Ranking 11th in 'Transport & Technology' suggests substantial demand and opportunities to increase the efficiency of transportation options to reduce congestion.
  • While tourists and those from abroad love our city, locals and longer-term visitors are increasingly finding the city unaffordable and lacking in cultural amenities and nightlife experience.


Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade noted:


"Greater Vancouver benefits from a world-class brand but our performance is increasingly lagging behind. We need collaborative action to increase our standard of living, unlock investment, and raise incomes or more people will find themselves priced out.

Despite ranking well (#8th) for skills and talent, discovery and research, and start-ups in future-facing industries, there is room for improvement in our ability to scale-up companies, adopt new technologies, and aligning our talent and training to local work. Importantly, our environmental leadership shines through.

Our historic population growth has only increased the demand for services. We are seeing major investment in public transportation and the results are evident as we outperformed all major North American cities in ridership bounce back post pandemic. But mobility and reliability remain a challenge with car reliance growing faster than the average peer city, demonstrating the continued need for transit funding and more complete, walkable communities.

We have the 3rd biggest gap in performance between the inner city and whole region, when all core measures of infrastructure, culture, amenities, and efficiency are considered amongst the peer group. This gap could become more pronounced as the city grows outward.

When compared among the world's best our region's aggregate score is 10th. Improving our performance will require collaboration and action among policymakers, business leaders, and the community to improve the lived experiences of our residents and businesses with our global image and ensure the region fulfills its potential as a truly world-class metro area."

Key Findings and Rankings


Prosperity – 14th/20 | Innovation & New Economy – 11th/20 | Skills & Talent – 8th/20


  • Greater Vancouver is rated among the world's top 50 innovation ecosystems by value.
  • Out of 11 recognized future-facing industries, Vancouver is notably in the global top 50 for all of them.
  • Greater Vancouver is among the top 20 globally for the share of the population with a university degree.
  • 3rd fastest forecasted growth of working-age population over the next decade.


  • In the bottom half for more than 100 global regions for productivity.
  • 60% behind the peer average for early-stage funding attracted in the past two years.
  • Vancouver is only 16th among its 20 peers for the share of start-ups and scale-ups in the late stages of growth.
  • Dollar for dollar, less is spent on R&D in the region than in all but one of 9 measured peers.


Infrastructure & Sustainability


Transport and Technology – 11th/20 | Place & Space – 9th/20 | Sustainability & Resilience – 3rd/20


  • Post-pandemic bounce back in rapid transit ridership was stronger than in any other measured major North American region.
  • Greater Vancouver has the 2nd highest share of people (40%) who can easily walk to high-capacity public transport among 10 peers.
  • Trees and green spaces are healthier than in 90% of the world's cities.
  • The region is in the top 10% for progress in reducing its overall carbon emissions since before the pandemic.
  • The region is 7th among 500 cities globally for the concentration of businesses that espouse the highest level of ESG best practice.


  • While we have some of the highest and most reliable digital infrastructure, consumers recorded/purchased speeds lag peers.
  • The region's green finance and green maritime sectors are both rated in the bottom half of its peer group.
  • Greater Vancouver has the 7th highest difference in rapid transit coverage between central and outer areas among 15 peers.
    • Vancouver has the 2nd lowest share of people who can reach Downtown by public transport in less than an hour among 7 peers.
    • Greater Vancouver is 8th out of 9 peers for use of micro-mobility options.
    • The City of Vancouver is also outside the top 100 globally for all-round cycling friendliness.
  • With car reliance growing more sharply than elsewhere we risk increased congestion.




Experience – 14th/20 | Wellbeing – 8th/20 |Affordability & Inclusion – 11th/20


  • Seen by the global public as the 8th most liveable city in the world.
  • Top 20% of measured cities in the world for inclusion of women and disabled people.
  • The region is 1st among peers, and in the top 15% globally, for how pleasantly surprised tourists are by their experience of the leading attractions.
  • Greater Vancouver is rated 18th in the world for how happy people are – or 7th among peers.


  • The region is 3rd from bottom among 48 global cities for how highly locals rate the evening scene.
  • Bottom 20% of 50 global cities for how highly newcomers to the city rate the availability and quality of medical care. The region saw the 3rd largest decline among peers in how happy local residents are with medical services provision since 2021.
  • Homeownership in Greater Vancouver is more unaffordable than in nearly all other English-speaking housing markets. The average renter spends more of their income on housing than in any other English-speaking peer city bar one.
  • The region has fallen out of the top 50% globally for how safe locals feel and how quickly they think crime is increasing.


Download Report

Benchmarking Greater Vancouver Report




About the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade:

Since its inception in 1887, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been recognized as Western Canada's leading business association, engaging our members to inform public policy at all levels of government and empowering them to succeed and prosper in the global economy. With a Membership whose employees comprise one-third of B.C.'s workforce, we are the largest business association between Victoria and Toronto. We leverage this collective strength, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing professional development through unique programs. In addition, we operate one of the largest events platforms in the country, providing a stage for national and international thought leaders to enlighten B.C.'s business leaders.

About The Business Of Cities:

Co-founded in 2008, The Business of Cities is an urban intelligence firm working with more than 100 cities and companies worldwide each year. We are headquartered in central London, with partners and associates in four continents. Our core mission is to partner the power of business with the magic of cities. Good urbanisation is the cradle of innovation, social connection, rich experience, and responsible stewardship of our planet. We support city leaders and urban investors to play their part, by providing them with the advice, the strategy, the benchmarks, the narrative and the global practice insights they need.


Media contact:

Federico Cerani
Communications Manager
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade | 604-640-5450 |