Statistics Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Study: Migration from central to surrounding municipalities in Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.

Related subjects


Between 2001 and 2006, people in the age group 25 to 44 were most likely to migrate from a central municipality to a surrounding municipality in Canada's three largest census metropolitan areas (CMA) of Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver.

The study, "Migration from central to surrounding municipalities in Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver," uses 2006 Census data to examine the migration of those aged 25 to 44 in these three CMAs. Individuals in this age group form an important demographic group because they are at an age when they are establishing families and buying first homes. As a result, they are a particularly sought-after "clientele" for all municipalities, both central and outlying.

In all three CMAs, nearly one person in seven between the ages of 25 and 44 (14%) left the core municipality between 2001 and 2006 and moved to one of the many municipalities that surround the core.

In contrast, the proportion of people in this age group who moved in the opposite direction, back to the central municipality, was much lower, with 5% doing so in Toronto and Montréal, and 4% in Vancouver.

In all three cases, the central municipalities posted a net loss of individuals aged 25 to 44 to surrounding municipalities between 2001 and 2006. For example, in the Toronto region, 95,700 people in this age group moved from the city of Toronto to a surrounding municipality. About 27,500 moved in the opposite direction, a ratio of 3.5 to 1.

The propensity to move to a surrounding municipality varied considerably, depending on a person's social and economic characteristics.

Those most likely to move during this period were new parents, people with a college or a bachelor's degree and those with after-tax family incomes between $70,000 and $99,999.

After-tax family income was a key factor in the decision to leave a central municipality. In Montréal, for example, people with after-tax family incomes of between $70,000 and $99,999 were about five times more likely to move to a surrounding municipality than those who had incomes of $20,000 or less.

Another strong factor was family status, even when the effects of age, income and other factors were taken into account. In all three CMAs, individuals who became parents for the first time between 2001 and 2006 were among those most likely to leave the central municipality.

In the Vancouver region, for example, 27% of new parents left the city of Vancouver to settle in a surrounding municipality. In contrast, 8% of people who lived alone relocated to surrounding municipalities, more than three times less.

In all three CMAs, people who had a college diploma or bachelor's degree were more likely to leave the central municipality. Those with higher levels, a master's or doctorate, were slightly less likely to do so.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3901.

The article "Migration from central to surrounding municipalities in Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver" is now available in the June 2010 online issue of Canadian Social Trends, no. 90 (11-008-X, free), available from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.

Also in this issue of Canadian Social Trends are two other articles: "Making fathers count" and "Foreign nationals working temporarily in Canada."

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (613-951-5979;, Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division.