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Edmonton vs Vancouver: Which is better?

Edmonton vs Vancouver Which is better
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Edmonton and Vancouver are two of Canada’s most popular cities, each with unique charm and appeal. But which one is better? 

In broad strokes, if you’re looking for a city with a lower cost of living, Edmonton may be better for you than Vancouver. If you want a place that supports an outdoorsy lifestyle more, however, Vancouver may be preferable to Edmonton. 

But these are generalizations. Sometimes, you have to get down to the nitty-gritty stuff to really get the answer for your situation.

To help you make your decision, we’ve compared Edmonton and Vancouver in terms of cost of living, job opportunities, quality of life, and more. This can help you figure out which city suits you more. 

Cost of Living in Edmonton vs Vancouver

Cost of Living in Edmonton vs Vancouver

Which has lower living costs, Edmonton or Vancouver?

Living costs in Edmonton are lower than in Vancouver. For example, you would need around $7608.60 in Vancouver to maintain a standard of living that you can have with just $5,900.00 in Edmonton – making Edmonton 22.46% cheaper than Vancouver.

Clearly, this is where Edmonton shines compared to the other city. By the way, we sourced the data below from Numbeo, the world’s largest database of user-contributed data about cities and countries.

According to Numbeo, the cost of living index for Vancouver is 72.48. For Edmonton, it’s 70.68. While this doesn’t seem like a big difference, it still shows that Edmonton is the more affordable city.

Take a look at the table below to get a closer look at the costs associated with living in both cities. 

ExpensesEdmonton Cost RangeVancouver Cost Range
Apartment Rentals (per month)$1,020.20 - $2,041.14$2,076.92 - $4,484.44
Restaurant$2.28 - $100.00$2.41 - $100.00
Groceries (Markets)$0.84 - $9.99 per item$0.85 - $10.76
Transportation (Commute)$2.53 - $100.00$3.22 - $120
Utilities (Monthly Average)$329.77$205.16
Sports and Leisure$15.00 - $61.36$14.76 - $59.09
Childcare$1,021.11 - $11,175.00$1,387.73 - $24,633.78
Clothing and Shoes$41.84 - $125.89$50.57 - $118.89
Salaries (Monthly)$4,168.30$4,643.24

For most expenses, the difference between the two cities is not drastic, but Edmonton still tends to be cheaper.

This is particularly evident in the cost of apartment rentals. The same is true for home purchase costs, with average property prices in Edmonton being less than half those in Vancouver.

The cost of transportation, food, childcare, sports and leisure, and clothing and shoes are also much lower in Edmonton.

While Vancouver has a slightly higher average salary and lower utility rates compared to Edmonton, it is still overall cheaper to live in Edmonton. 

Safety and Security in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Safety and Security in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Which is safer, Vancouver or Edmonton? 

Vancouver offers better safety and security than Edmonton based on the fact that Vancouver has a higher safety index score and a lower crime rate. To illustrate, Vancouver’s safety index is at 60.09, definitely higher than Edmonton’s index of 53.89, as per Numbeo

There are also generally more property and violent crimes in Edmonton compared to Vancouver. There are 43% more property crimes and 59% more violent crimes in Edmonton compared to Vancouver. 

However, it is important to understand that we are comparing them to each other. Both cities still maintain a moderately high safety index and have lower crime rates than many other cities in Canada.

Here’s the raw data for the analysis above: 

Below is the safety index, with the higher number being the better or safer city to live in. A city’s safety index is a global policy benchmarking tool that is used to measure the level of urban safety. 

Factors that usually come into play include personal, infrastructure, digital, environmental, and health security.  

SAFETY INDEX (Higher is better)

We can flesh this out with the number of property and violent crime rates for both cities in 2022. Data is sourced from the Vancouver Police Department and Edmonton Police Service

Type of Crime (Lower is better)EdmontonVancouver
Property Crime54,53031,016
Violent Crime$14,963$6,140

Note: While these raw numbers can be concerning, it’s important to keep in mind that both cities have large populations, and crime rates are generally lower than in other cities of similar size.

It’s also important to consider the initiatives and resources each city has in place to prevent and address crime. Both Edmonton and Vancouver have dedicated police services, community programs, and resources to help residents feel safe and secure.

There are also quite a few options for security services in either city if you want 24/7 protection for yourself or your family. 

Social Services in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Social Services in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Which has better social services, Edmonton or Vancouver? 

When it comes to social services, Edmonton and Vancouver are rated roughly equal. This is because both cities have strong public school systems, excellent healthcare systems, and a diverse range of job opportunities. 

For those looking for an ideal place to live, either city can offer great quality of life, at least in this area.

When it comes to choosing a city to call home, social services play a crucial role. Education, healthcare, and job opportunities are just a few of the factors that can greatly impact the quality of life for residents. 

Below, we explore the different facets of social services in both cities. 

Education in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Education in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Both Edmonton and Vancouver have strong education systems that are roughly equal to each other, and also offer reputable public and private schools. Public schooling is also free for residents of Edmonton and Vancouver from elementary school to high school

Here are Vancouver’s strengths in this area:

  • Vancouver has a higher concentration of private schools and caters to a wider range of students, including those seeking a more specialized education. 
  • In Vancouver, you can find a lot of arts-related educational institutions. These include fashion schools, culinary schools, and film production institutions.

Meanwhile, here are Edmonton’s strengths, for comparison:

  • Edmonton boasts a higher number of post-secondary institutions than Vancouver, and also has the University of Alberta, which regularly ranks among the top universities in Canada. This makes Edmonton a great choice for students who are looking to pursue education beyond high school.
  • Edmonton is home to a good number of colleges that focus on areas such as engineering, computer science, and healthcare. 

Healthcare in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Healthcare in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Vancouver and Edmonton have well-regarded healthcare systems. However, the former has more specialty care facilities (like cancer and rehabilitation clinics), while the latter has more community health clinics.

This makes Vancouver better for specialized medical treatment while Edmonton has a slight edge in general accessibility for routine care.

In addition to public healthcare, both cities also have a range of private healthcare options, including clinics and hospitals that cater to those who are seeking more personalized and specialized care. 

Whether you’re looking for a general practitioner or a specialist, you can find the healthcare services you need in either city. However, it’s important to note that the cost of healthcare in Vancouver is generally higher than in Edmonton.

Job Market in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Job Market in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Both Edmonton and Vancouver have good job markets, although the two cities have different industries of focus. Edmonton focuses on energy, tech, and agriculture, while Vancouver focuses on tech and tourism.

Both cities have a high demand for skilled workers, but the cost of living in Vancouver is significantly higher. This means that, while you may be able to find work more easily in Vancouver, you may also have to pay more for housing, food, and other necessities. 

Diversity and Demographics in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Diversity and Demographics in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Which is more ethnically diverse, Edmonton or Vancouver? 

Edmonton and Vancouver are both fairly diverse, although Vancouver has more minorities in its population, with 54% of the city’s residents identifying as minorities vs. 40.3% for Edmonton.

Keep in mind that although Edmonton has a lower percentage for visible minorities compared to Vancouver, it still has relatively high diversity compared to other cities in Canada.

We established that Vancouver is more ethnically diverse, as seen in how much of their population identify as minorities. How about diversity of age, though? 

In terms of age, Vancouver and Edmonton have a similar distribution. The median age of both cities is around 37. 

This means that if you’re looking to live in a city where you can meet people of all ages, both places can be a good bet.

Culture and Lifestyle in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Culture and Lifestyle in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

What do culture and lifestyle look like for Edmonton and Vancouver? 

Edmonton and Vancouver both offer rich local culture and lifestyle options. People tend to focus a little more on arts (especially performing and festive ones) in Edmonton and on outdoor and nature events in Vancouver.

If you’re interested in the arts, Edmonton usually places more focus on that especially performing and festive art forms. If you like nature and outdoor events, Vancouver takes the cake. 

This is because Edmonton has numerous galleries, museums, and performing arts organizations, while Vancouver offers proximity to both the ocean and mountains, making it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. 

Music, Arts, and Culture in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Music, Arts, and Culture in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Edmonton and Vancouver both offer museums, galleries, festivals, and cultural events. Many say that Edmonton has slightly better annual musical festivals and performances, but Vancouver is not short of these either.

Edmonton in particular is known for its thriving arts and culture scene, with numerous galleries, museums, and performing arts organizations.

The city is also home to several music festivals, including the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and the Edmonton International Jazz Festival. In terms of cultural institutions, the Royal Alberta Museum and the Art Gallery of Alberta are must-visits.

Vancouver, on the other hand, is home to a diverse range of cultural institutions, including the Museum of Anthropology, the Museum of Vancouver, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. The city is also known for its thriving music scene, with numerous concerts and festivals throughout the year.

Recreation and Leisure in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Recreation and Leisure in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

There are many things to do in both Edmonton and Vancouver. However, when it comes to outdoor activities, Vancouver has a slight edge over Edmonton thanks to its coastal location and more forgiving climate.

Edmonton still does have a range of recreation and leisure activities to choose from, of course, including skiing, snowboarding, and hiking in the nearby mountains. The city is also home to several parks, including Elk Island National Park and Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park.

But Vancouver, with its proximity to both the ocean and mountains, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The city is known for its numerous beaches, parks, and hiking trails, as well as its abundant recreation opportunities, such as skiing, snowboarding, and fishing.

Weather in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Weather in Edmonton vs. Vancouver

Which has a better climate, Edmonton or Vancouver?

The answer to whether Edmonton or Vancouver has a better climate depends on your preferences.

Edmonton has a continental climate, with cold winters and warm summers. Vancouver, on the other hand, has a temperate climate, with mild winters and warm summers.

Interestingly, Edmonton actually gets more sunshine per year than Vancouver. It gets about 2350 hours of sunshine annually whereas the latter city gets only 1940.

One reason for this is that Vancouver is a rainier city than Edmonton, with an average of 27 inches of rainfall per year making it one of the rainiest cities in Canada.

We may be a little biased, but we certainly appreciate that little bit of extra sun here in Edmonton!

A Recap: Is Edmonton or Vancouver better?

Both Edmonton and Vancouver have their own strengths and weaknesses, as we explained above. To recap everything we’ve discussed, here are our recommendations for which city is better for whom and why:

DemographicThe Better CityWhy
RentersEdmontonCosts are about half of what you’d pay in Vancouver.
HomeownersEdmontonCosts are about half of what you’d pay in Vancouver.
Bargain-huntersEdmontonYou can find bargains in Vancouver too, but nearly everything is slightly more expensive there than in Edmonton.
StudentsTiedVancouver has more highly regarded private schools but Edmonton has more post-secondary institutions and tech/vocational schools.
Healthcare-seekersTied (unless you need specialized medical care, in which case Vancouver wins)Vancouver has better specialized care centers, although Edmonton has good facilities too.
Job-seekersTiedEdmonton is for energy and agriculture workers while Vancouver is better for hospitality or tourism workers. Both also offer opportunities in tech.
MinoritiesVancouverBoth have a large percentage of minorities in their populations and are among Canada’s most diverse cities, but Vancouver has slightly more minorities than Edmonton.