Wood Buffalo Economic Development

Cost of Living

Projected per capita incomeProjected per capital income


Wood Buffalo residents pay a premium for some necessities such as housing and rent. With new neighbourhood construction and improved transportation the situation is improving. At the same time people in the region can access an extraordinary lifestyle infrastructure for a fraction of the cost in the south. A significant wage gap does exist, and the cost of living at the lower end of the salary range can be prohibitive. Innovative businesses are challenged to create incentives and opportunities for fast advancement which can be seen as “good as gold” and excite employees around opportunities for involvement and fast advancement.

Wood Buffalo residents enjoy incomes 103% higher than the national average.

  • Proving that the opportunity for high wages and stable employment far outweigh the common “cost of living” concern more than 66% of Wood Buffalo residents own their own home.
  • In general Fort McMurray home prices and rentals are about 40% higher than in Calgary and Edmonton and on par with or below Vancouver. At the same time family income is up to 100% higher.

Housing statisticsHousing statistics

  • Food prices in Wood Buffalo are on par with and often lower than in other cities in Alberta.
  • More than half of the infrastructure projects underway in Alberta are located in Wood Buffalo, an astonishing fact considering the economic spin-off of such projects.

The cost of living in Wood Buffalo may be higher than in other parts of Canada, but for 2012 the projected discretionary income is $30,465. That means residents have spending power in “fun money” at far higher levels than most of the country, including Vancouver (515%), Toronto (294%), Edmonton (272%), Ottawa (258%), and Calgary (89%).

Housing expenditures

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Transportation
  • Health/ Personal Care
  • Recreation and Education
  • Taxes and Securities
  • Other
  • Discretionary Income

Earn more. Live more.