Measuring British Columbia’s Prosperity Gap

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Measuring British Columbia’s Prosperity Gap


  • By global standards, British Columbia is prosperous. British Columbians enjoy a living standard and access to opportunities that most of the world would envy. Within its own economic region, however, BC is a laggard.
  • This bulletin compares overall prosperity in BC (measured as Gross Domestic Product per person) to that of neighbouring Alberta and six US states.
  • We show that BC has the third lowest GDP per capita of the 8 jurisdictions we analyze. We also show that there is a large gap between BC and the four US states that have a higher GDP per capita than BC, whereas the province’s advantage over the two other states—Montana and Idaho—is much smaller.
  • We also analyze a second measure of prosperity—median employment income. This measure indicates the strength of labour markets and the economic well-being of each jurisdiction’s residents. BC performs even worse on this indicator than on GDP per capita. BC’s median employment income is the lowest of the eight jurisdictions examined.
  • Of the seven other jurisdictions measured in this analysis, BC’s growth rate was lower than any of the six US states between 2010 and 2019. Its growth rate exceeded only Alberta’s.
  • The substantial and growing prosperity gap between BC and most of its neighbours should concern British Columbians generally and policymakers particularly.

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