One of Vancouver’s few distinct cultural historic neighbourhoods, Chinatown holds a universal appeal to locals, tourists and a growing number of entrepreneurs. The character of the neighborhood is preserved by heritage designation on important buildings, with murals and window art telling the stories of early Chinese pioneers. The neighborhood is home to a growing number of renowned restaurants and boutique retail for every budget, while honouring the memory of early settlers.
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- Doing Business Here
Population by Age
An estimated 29,254 people live in the Vancouver Chinatown BIA residential area, which saw a 5.0% growth between 2016 and 2019, higher than Vancouver (3.6%) and equivalent to Metro Vancouver (5.0%). Residents are younger than the city and regional average, with over 30% falling in the 20 to 34 age bracket.
Language & Ethnic Origin
English is the dominant household language spoken in the Chinatown market area (74.8%), higher than Vancouver (66%), and Metro Vancouver (66%). It also has a lower percentage of residents reporting Chinese heritage (21%) compared with Vancouver (29%).
Of the 15,861 households in the Vancouver Chinatown BIA catchment area, 60% are single-person households, significantly higher than Vancouver or Metro Vancouver. The average number of persons per household is 1.6, which is below the averages of Metro Vancouver (2.5) and Vancouver (2.2).
Education & Occupation
Chinatown residents are educated, with 28% of residents attaining a bachelor’s degree and 45% having at least some university education. The most common occupations for local residents are in sales and service (21%), business, finance, & administration (17%), and management (14%).
Income & Spending
Due to smaller household sizes and lower incomes, the average annual expenditure per household in the Vancouver Chinatown BIA catchment area is ($72,906), lower than Vancouver ($92,456), and Metro Vancouver ($93,252). The estimated median 2019 household income for Vancouver Chinatown residents is $40,380.
92% of Chinatown BIA is zoned as heritage. Of the commercial space, 46% is zoned as HA-1 for heritage protection, and another 46% is zoned as HA-1A to promote infill development that respects the traditional architecture, culture, and tone of the BIA. 99% of the current business floor space is licensed commercial and 1% is commercial, although many businesses operate light manufacturing behind a retail front-of-house.
96% of dwellings in the Chinatown market area are apartments, higher than Vancouver (80%), and Metro Vancouver (59%). The majority of homes are new with 45% constructed after 2001, almost double that of Vancouver (23%) or Metro Vancouver (26%) for the same period.
Chinatown BIA is a well-connected and diverse neighborhood. The multiple SkyTrain and bus routes offer swift access to Downtown, the Lower Mainland, and North Vancouver.
There are 420 businesses located in the Chinatown BIA catchment area, a growth of 5.9% from 2016-2019. The dominant industries are retail (36%), health care & social assistance (16%), and accommodation & food service (15%).
Commercial Business Size
61% of businesses in Chinatown have fewer than five employees and are classed as micro. 31% are small with 5-20 employees, and only 8% of businesses have more than 21 employees.
Pre-COVID 19 vacancy rates were low but growing, and ground floor lease rates vary widely (recent offers range from $20 to $38/sq. ft.).