Metro Vancouver is the eviction capital of Canada, first-of-its-kind study suggests

A full moon rises behind the downtown skyline in Vancouver, on Friday, July 23, 2021. (Darryl Dyck / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

British Columbia's most populated region holds a new undesirable title as the eviction capital of Canada.

That's according to a new study out of the University of British Columbia, which attempts to highlight the extent of the housing and affordability crisis in Metro Vancouver.

The research, published this month by Silas Xuereb with the title "Understanding Evictions in Canada through the Canadian Housing Survey," backs what many renters have been saying for years, but it's the first time a study like this has actually been conducted.

Xuereb, of UBC's Master of Arts in Economics graduate program, broke down eviction rates nationally, but also by region and demographic groups.

Supervised by UBC assistant professor Andrea Craig and Housing Research Collaborative research co-ordinator Craig Jones, Xuereb estimated 10.6 per cent of renters in B.C. have reported being evicted in the last five years.

It's more than in any other province or territory in Canada, and far higher than the national average of 6.6 per cent.

Looking at the Vancouver area, the estimated rate was 10.5 per cent, which is significantly higher than other major cities including Toronto and Montreal.

It appears these evictions have been more heavily concentrated in the region's suburbs, including Surrey, Port Coquitlam and Maple Ridge, than in Vancouver itself and the closely surrounding cities.

According to the research, men are slightly more likely to be evicted than women.

The age group with the highest eviction rate observed was 45 to 54. According to the study, households with children are also more likely to be evicted than young adults and seniors.

Renters who identify as Indigenous, single parents and those who spend more than half of their income on housing are most at risk, according to Xuereb.

Additionally, renters whose last move was an eviction were found to have lower self-reported levels of health and mental health than others, as well as lower life satisfaction.

The research used data from the national Community Housing Survey, which was conducted in 2018, to estimate the percentage of renters who were evicted during the previous five years.

The study's author acknowledged limitations of the analysis, but said it represents "the first attempt" to estimate eviction rates by region and demographics in Canada.

He said the research is in line with what similar studies in the U.S. have found, suggesting his study could be used by policymakers even without further analysis.

Read more on the research and methodology on UBC's website.