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Population growth in downtown Toronto has outpaced the city’s suburbs for the first time in decades, according to a reportreleased today by TD Economics.

Between 2006 and 2011, population growth in downtown Toronto rose to 16.2 per cent, while growth in the Peel, York, Durham and Halton regions dropped to 13.7 per cent. The 16.2 per cent figure is three times higher than for the 2001 to 2006 period in which growth was only 4.6 per cent.

TD Economics attributes the massive increase to young, highly educated echo boomers who are eschewing the housing choices of their parents, returning to downtown Toronto to live near transit, work and amenities. This has also led to employers following the new trend and locating themselves in the downtown core to attract skilled labour.

“New business creation, employment gains and population growth in the downtown core are now outpacing that in the surrounding suburbs, reversing a decades-long trend of exactly the opposite,” the TD report noted.

Here are a few more highlights from the TD Economics report:

  • According to the 2011 census, close to half of the downtown core’s population is composed of echo boomers.
  • Echo boomers were responsible for 70 per cent of the total growth since 2006.
  • The median age in Toronto’s downtown core is in the mid-30s, compared to above 40 in the rest of Ontario.
  • The share of the population aged 25 years and over with a post-secondary education is nearly 20 per cent higher in the downtown core than the Ontario average.
  • Growth in commercial real estate space in downtown Toronto has outpaced the surrounding suburbs.

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