Is Nanaimo a Good Place to Live?

Nanaimo might not be the most exciting place to live, but it is a great place to live if you’re looking for a place with all the necessities. You’ll have access to great food, the occasional pub, great coffee places, and friendly neighborhoods.

The biggest reason Nanaimo is an excellent place to live is its affordability. If you’re looking for someplace that isn’t as expensive as big cities like Toronto, Nanaimo is the place for you.

Do you want to know other things about Nanaimo, like its healthcare and educational system? Keep reading. We’re here to provide you with a comprehensive guide with facts to help you make the right decision.

The History Of Nanaimo

Nanaimo is a city found in southwestern British Columbia, a province in Canada. The city is located on Vancouver Island and the Georgia Strait. It began as Colvilletown until it was renamed in 1860 to Sne-ny-mo or Nanaimo. This can be translated to “a big, strong tribe.”

Nanaimo was known as the city with a booming coal mining industry, and it stayed that way until 1953 when mines were closed. Nanaimo’s economy heavily depends on other industries such as fishing, agriculture, lumbering, and tourism.

The Overall Feel Of Nanaimo

Nanaimo is a city with friendly inhabitants. If you’re looking for a place with quite the nightlife, this might not be the proper city for you. There are bars and restaurants, and Partying isn’t much of a thing in Nanaimo. It is home to great food, though.

Communities are diverse and vibrant, and people are helpful and kind to you. You’ll want to make sure you’ll be able to buy a car, as it’s not a very walking/biking type of city. There are several walking and biking trails if you need to satisfy the craving for outdoor exercise.

Nanaimo also has access to beaches you can enjoy during the summer or all year round if that’s what you prefer. There are malls and shopping centers, and it just doesn’t have quite the selection. It truly is a small town.

What You Need To Know About Nanaimo

Nanaimo might be the place for you. You have to make sure by doing some thorough research. Here are a few things you have to know before moving to Nanaimo.

1. Unemployment Rate

Nanaimo has an incredibly high unemployment rate of 9.1%, which is a bit higher than Vancouver Island’s unemployment rate. The local government must enact more projects, and businesses suffering from staff shortages should hire locals to help decrease the unemployment rate.

2. Crime Rate

Nanaimo has a relatively high crime rate, with the most significant problem being drug use or dealing, followed by property crimes such as theft. Violent crimes occur rarely. Nanaimo ranked third compared to other Vancouver Island cities on “most dangerous places to live.” Nanaimo has a crime severity index of 112. For reference, the average crime severity index in Canada is 75.

3. Education

Nanaimo has around 48 schools. This isn’t a lot, but these schools have an excellent education. Some of these schools are elementary schools, so those go from kindergarten to 7th grade.

Others are secondary schools that encompass grades 8 to 12. They’re pretty spread out, so you have many options for where you want to bring yourself or your child to school.

Aside from public schools, there are independent schools such as the Nanaimo Christian School, which encompasses kindergarten to 12th grade. If you’d like a list of all schools in Nanaimo, check the British Columbia website.

4. Housing Cost

The average price of a single-family home in Nanaimo reached $1,003,705, which is incredibly expensive. The rate continues to increase, so if you’d like to buy a home, it would be a good idea to get one as soon as possible.

As for the cost of living, a family of 4’s estimated monthly costs are $4,609 without rent, while a single person is estimated to have monthly expenses of $1,300. If this cost of living isn’t too much, Nanaimo might be the place best suited for you.

5. Healthcare

Nanaimo has medical centers such as the Nanaimo Public Health Unit, which isn’t open for 24 hours but does welcome patients with open arms if all they need is a consultation. There is a hospital called the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, which is open 24 hours and will provide quality care to you throughout the day. For more information on this hospital, visit the Island Health webpage.

As for insurance, British Columbia has a medical services plan you can avail of, and you are eligible. This medical services plan is for Canadian citizens who are permanent residents or immigrants with an established residency in British Columbia.

This free medical services plan covers medically-insured doctor services, including consultations, specific medical procedures, and tests. Visit the British Columbia website to learn more about the MSP (Medical Services Plan).

Let’s Summarize these Stats

Unemployment RateCrime RateEducationHousing CostsHealthcare
The unemployment rate of 9.1%Nanaimo has a relatively high crime rateNanaimo has around 48 schoolsThe average price of a single-family home in Nanaimo is $1,003,705Nanaimo’s medical centers, including the Nanaimo Public Health Unit and the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital
Local governments must enact projects, and businesses suffering from staff shortages should hire locals to decrease the unemployment rateThe most significant cause is the using or dealing of drugs, followed by property crimesThe schools follow the K-12 curriculumThe cost of living for a family of 4 is estimated to be $4,609 per month without rent.Residents can avail of the Medical Services Plan offered by British Columbia.
   Single people have an estimated monthly expense of $1,300 again without rent.The free plan covers medically-insured doctor services, including medical procedures and consultations.

Pros Of Living In Nanaimo

Nanaimo has its pros and cons. Let’s weigh both of them, starting with the pros.

1. Great Healthcare And Health Insurance

Healthcare and health insurance in Nanaimo are of high quality. There is a medical service plan you can avail of, which is free.

As long as you’re eligible, you can benefit from this plan. Several medical centers in Nanaimo offer quality healthcare to their patients.

2. Several Walking/Biking Trails

Get some exercise through one of the several walking or biking trails in Nanaimo. Immerse yourself in nature. These walking or biking trails offer a variety of options.

There are short, long trails, trails alongside the shore, and trails within foresty areas. Whichever you choose, you’ll always know that that trail will have stunning surroundings.

3. Friendly People

Nanaimo has friendly people. Despite its high crime rate, most people are friendly and will always lend a helping hand when you need it.

They are also respectful when you speak to them. Socializing might not be your strong suit, but you’ll feel at home here.

Cons Of Living In Nanaimo

To balance it out, we’ll list down some cons as well.

1. Expensive Housing Market

This city has an expensive housing market that most people wouldn’t be able to afford. After all, the average price of a single-family home reached over $1 million, and the rate continues to increase.

The cost of living is a bit affordable but still expensive. A family of 4 will have to pay around $4,000 per month minus rent, and a single person will pay around $1,300 per month without rent. If this lifestyle is affordable, go for it. If it isn’t, don’t be disheartened. There are many cities in Canada.

2. High Unemployment Rate

Nanaimo also has a very high unemployment rate. While other cities have an unemployment rate of around 4.9% to 5.0%, Nanaimo has a rate of 9.1%. The usual highest rates are 7.0% – 7.9%, so this rate is exceptionally high.

Fortunately, the government is working on some projects. However, businesses are urged to hire locals if they require staff and employees to help their business thrive.

The Final Verdict

Nanaimo offers a lifestyle that you might not be used to but might suit you. It is an expensive city as homes are expensive, and the cost of living is a bit up there. Homes cost an average of just over $1 million, which most people agree is far from affordable.

There are also high unemployment and crime rates which could make you turn your eye away from Nanaimo. It does have redeeming qualities, including biking trails, friendly people, and excellent healthcare and health insurance. Nanaimo isn’t a huge city, so you will be able to experience some small-town vibes.

Despite it being small, it does offer lots of amenities so you can satisfy every craving and enjoy yourself. You can go to the beach or the mall, depending on you. It’s big enough that it isn’t too cramped but small enough that you don’t feel like an ant in a big world.

Check Out Is Winnipeg a Good Place to Live?

Leave a comment