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“Pleasure is not one of the spoils of capitalism. It is what our bodies, our human systems, are structured for; it is the aliveness and awakening, the gratitude and humility, the joy and celebration of being miraculous.” -Adrienne Marie Brown


Why are the costs of joy never included in data about affordability?

We think that conversations about affordability need to include more than the bare minimum necessary to survive.

That’s why we created a data index that recognizes our shared humanity by including costs that enrich your life, such as access to cultural events or an occasional meal at your favourite restaurant. The good stuff.

In this series, we explore the personal stories from responses we received from the Real Affordability Index while taking a closer look at 4 of the 27 cities examined in the data.

Last week we discussed Halifax. This week we zoom in on our West Coast to take a look at Vancouver.

We hear from Bren and Kathryn, two young Vancouver-based respondents on themes of generational change, pressure, relocation, and community in relation to lack of affordable housing.

“In BC, affordability is dead”


“We are growing up in this gap where things just don’t make sense” says Kathryn, a young Vancouver resident. She says that the gap between minimum wage and cost of living doesn’t add up, causing feelings of disillusionment within her generation.


British Columbia has the highest minimum wage of all provinces at $15.65, but falls short of being affordable for youth due to a high cost of living. The average young Vancouverite spends $3,385.12 per month and makes $2,816.08 causing a gap of $569.04 monthly.

Kathryn states that we are in a time where people are “moving into rat-infested one-bedroom apartments with people they just met on Tinder because it is the only way they can afford to stay in the city.”

A one-bedroom apartment in Metro Vancouver goes for an average of $1,908, far beyond the capabilities of a single minimum wage earner.

Bren was raised in Metro Vancouver, and now in early adulthood, faces a similar problem. Bren’s childhood home was purchased in a small suburb in Metro Vancouver in 2002 for $300,000. Today this same home is worth 2.5 million. The neighbourhood has skyrocketed in price.

Despite this area being where Bren’s support network of friends and family live- Bren has moved 400km east in search of a more affordable life.

“Housing costs make up half my income now, despite living hundreds of kilometers from the nearest major city” continues Bren.

“In BC, affordability is dead.”

It isn’t just BC, the Real Affordability Index shows that none of the 27 cities examined from coast to coast to coast are affordable for young people.

Where do we go from here?

The affects of young people moving away from their communities in search of more affordable lifestyles can have a major impact on mental health as loss of community can lead to feelings of isolation. 
“To regain young people’s trust, we need to feel like the government is truly on our side – that there is room for us to live safe, happy and healthy lives in Canada’s cities,” states Kathryn.

Learn more about real affordability for youth across Canada here.

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Join us as we continue this national conversation about youth affordability. Send this post to a friend, a young person, a Vancouverite, West Coaster or decision maker.

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