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The census population was 44,543 in 2011 – a small decline from 44,556 in 2006.  (Includes the Georgia-Alberni Corridor.)

The West End is now the fourth most densely populated neighbourhood on the downtown peninsula.  (The densest neighbourhood in Vancouver is actually Collingwood Village at Joyce Station.)

Demos

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The West End is slowly stabilizing, even though the percent of rented buildings is 81 percent.

Population who moved since the last census:

1996 – 71.7%

2001 – 68.3%

2006 – 66.4% (compared to 50.2%  City of Vancouver)

Median household income ($38,581) is lower than in the city overall ($47,299).

The average rent for a West End one bedroom apartment is $1,151 (the citywide average is $1,045).

This is what makes the West End so critical: It is a lower-middle-income neighbourhood, primarily of renters, in a very expensive city.  To a considerable extent, this is possible because West Enders don’t require cars – an expenditure that would take at least $5,000/year (generously subtracting some transportation expenditures from the Canadian average of $10,000/car).  And that money applied to housing makes the West End a realistic alternative for that income group.  Indeed, the percentage of the population in low income households (32.8%) is higher than in the city overall (26.6%).

The West End also contains the fourth highest density of children of any Local Area in the city, with an average of 8.8 children per hectare.

More details here.

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An Addendum from the past:

When Tom Campbell (Vancouver alderman and mayor from from 1961-1972) died, there was been some reflection in the obituaries. But the most interesting one was by ex-mayor Sam Sullivan:

In the 1960s the neighborhood of single detached houses in the West End made way for over 200 residential towers. In pockets around the city like Kerrisdale, Kitsilano, near UBC, residential towers arose providing housing for seniors and young people, dramatically improving neighborhood environmental performance, increasing social diversity and keeping the price of housing in check. I was awestruck that any city government could have achieved this.

I came to understand that it was under the government of Tom Campbell that most of this was achieved. Strange. The writers of Vancouver history have always told a less than flattering story of him. As much as I searched I couldn’t find anything in the “official canon” that said much positive about this period. His was an era of political insensitivity and avarice and its end ushered in the “livable city”.

Indeed, not much has been flattering.  This particular Campbell will always be branded by the anti-hippie image he created for himself.

But Sam, I think, goes a little too far in giving him credit for the transformation of the West End.

Up until 1956, it was indeed a neighbourhood of what looked on the surface to be single-family houses, with a few old streetcar apartment buildings scattered among them.  The Sylvia Hotel, at eight storeys, was the tallest building.

Then it all changed.  In 1956 came the City’s first Zoning and Development Bylaw.  Here’s what I wrote in my summary, The Deceptive City, available here:

In 1956, when theWest End was rezoned, it was felt to be a decaying streetcar neighbourhood, ready for urban renewal by the private sector. The highest building was a mere eight storeys.  By 1972, the end of the boom, it had added hundreds of mediocre concrete boxes, some over 30 storeys.

What really happened, though, was even more astonishing.  The number of dwelling units quintupled between 1951 and 1981 – no surprise there.  And yet, the population went from about 26,000 people in 1941 to 37,500 in 1971, and then levelled off.  Consider: the population did not even double – though the number of housing units went up five times.

What happened?  The community actually uncrowded, as towers of spacious one-bedroom apartments replaced the low-rise tenements disguised as single-family houses, in which whole families had to share a few rooms and a washroom down the hall.