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Montreal stands out more for quality of life than economic vitality


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Montreal stands out more for quality of life than economic vitality

The report suggests Montreal isn't quite living up to its potential, but the city does have one card up its sleeve: quality of life.

Published on: May 22, 2018 | Last Updated: May 22, 2018 8:41 AM EDT

"In Montreal, you don't necessarily have the salaries of Silicon Valley, around San Francisco, but you have a very good quality of life."DARIO AYALA / MONTREAL GAZETTE


Montreal continues to lag behind other large North American cities when it comers to economic vitality, according to a ranking produced by the Institut du Québec, but the city does have one card up its sleeve: its quality of life.

“In Montreal, you don’t necessarily have the salaries of Silicon Valley, around San Francisco, but you have a very good quality of life,” Jean-Guy Côté, the associate director of the institute, said in an interview. 

“Studies are starting to show that the younger generations, people who have a lot of talent, aren’t only concerned about salary,” he said. 

For three years, the research institute, a joint venture between the Conference Board of Canada and HEC Montréal, has compared Montreal to other North American cities. It looks at five categories: economic vitality, human capital, innovation, quality of life and attractiveness.

The ranking compares Montreal with Toronto, Vancouver, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco, among others. It uses data from the most recent Canadian census, conducted in 2016.

La Presse Canadienne was able to consult the most recent report, released on Tuesday, in advance.

According to its conclusions, Montreal has several weaknesses when it comes to the economy but it makes up for it when it comes to quality of life.

Montreal has affordable housing, the crime rate is low and the public transit offering is diverse — all of which compare well to the 14 other large cities studied. 

The economy: the weak point

When it comes to the economy, Montreal continues to struggle to stand out.

Even though 2016 and 2017 were very good years for Montreal, the city was ranked 14 out of 15 for economic activity in 2016. 

In terms of economic growth, Montreal rose two spots between 2014 and 2016, but it remains in 13th place, tied with Philadelphia.

San Francisco was ranked first in both categories.

“Of course we can’t see the needle moving much yet. It’s going to take many years like this before Montreal can move up the ranking,” Côté said. “What Montreal can do, is to continue the strategy that’s already begun, that is, attract investors but also attract talent, so people who have a particular field or expertise.”

Improvements as well

The city’s results improved a little when it comes to attractiveness, innovation and human capital — which notably takes into account the percentage of residents who have a bachelor’s degree and the integration of immigrants into the labour market. 

On those last two points, the researchers say the improvements are not enough. Montreal ranks 14th.

“Since 2013, there have been more Montrealers aged 25 to 64 who have a university degree. This increase of 1.4 per cent exceeds only the rate of the increase seen in Minneapolis, St. Louis and Phoenix,” they said. 

As for innovation, the results are acceptable, according to the report, but Montreal has the potential to go much further. 

Other observations from the report Comparer Montréal

Montreal was in 15th place when it comes to disposable income per capita, which was $28,600 in 2016. Toronto and Vancouver are just ahead, in 14th and 13th place respectively. “Note, however, that when private health care spending per resident is taken into account on both sides of the border, the gap between the other Canadian and American cities is significantly smaller.”

Montreal was ahead of Philadelphia, Boston and Pittsburgh when it came to the growth in the number of building permits. “Using a three-year moving average, the growth in the number of building permits issued increased from minus-7.7 per cent to 5.8 per cent.”

Montreal is in last place when it comes to the percentage of the population living below the poverty line. That percentage increased from 13.3 per cent to 18.9 per cent in 2016.

Montreal’s record on road congestion has stalled, falling behind cities like Boston, Philadelphia and Denver. Toronto and Vancouver remain in 12th and 13th place respectively. “Montreal wasn’t designed around automobile traffic,” Côté said. Many American cities were built around road grids. 

by Vicky Fragasso-Marquis

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Les données utilisées pour compiler ce rapport sont celles de 2016. Je crois qu'avec l'année 2017 qu'on a connue, on a probablement grimpé d'une ou deux places supplémentaires. "It's not about where you are, but where you're going.";)

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Tiré de l'étude:


rappelons que Montréal part de loin. la croissance économique des dernières années est hors norme et invite à l’optimisme. Mais il faudra plusieurs années du même type pour faire avancer Montréal dans le classement nord-américain.

Il n'y a pas de statu quo, Montréal évolue positivement depuis quelques années. C'est le contraire de l'immobilisme, si l'étude parle de croissance «hors norme». Et je crois que tout le monde veut voir la ville continuer dans cette direction de toute manière. Faut juste voir que changer ce genre d'indicateur économique prend du temps, si on décide de dénigrer le travail qu'on fait car on a pas des changements radicaux sur trois années, on ira nul part.

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This study is absolutely ridiculous.

Rankings are sometimes in reverse order and it is hard to get a picture of when a high rank is better than a lower one. We are first in terms of homicide rate and last for number of people living below the poverty line. The Institut du Québec should be ashamed of publishing such nonsence. First in cost of rent. WTF does that mean?

The rank or graph should be self explanatory with limited back and forth guessing from the reader. If one has to guess the ranking on ascending or descending order, it is a fail. A simple addition of a legend would easily correct this.

I work with stats and do this for a living, I would be reprimanded if I produced such drivel.


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il y a une heure, qwerty a dit :

Montreal gazette... That is where i stop reading.

Ce n'est pas un article de la Gazette, mais un de la Presse Canadienne...

Le Devoir a repris le même texte en français

La Presse aussi

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