Blog Image

“One of the most vital ways we sustain ourselves is by building communities of resistance, places where we know we are not alone.”– bell hooks, feminist writer and theorist.

Why are the costs of joy never included in data about affordability?

We think that conversations about affordability need to include more than the bare minimum necessary to survive.

That’s why we created a data index that recognizes our shared humanity by including costs that enrich your life, such as access to cultural events or an occasional meal at your favourite restaurant. The good stuff.

In this series we explore the personal stories from responses we received from the Real Affordability Index, while taking a closer look at 4 of the 27 cities examined in the data.

First up, the “Great Harbour”- Halifax.

Halifax is located within Miꞌkmaꞌki the traditional ancestral lands of the Miꞌkmaq peoples.

We heard from Lauren and Emma, two young Halifax residents, on how affordability in the city is affecting their lives.

Halifax header

“This isn’t about the future for Canadian youth. This is our present.”

Lauren applied to over 300 jobs in Halifax this summer because she couldn’t find an entry level position with a wage high enough to afford her $1500 monthly rent.

In February, she faced eviction due to a $200 rental increase.

She is a good student, a good tenant and a hard worker but it isn’t enough.


This story isn’t unique. Halifax is considered the most unaffordable city for youth to live in Canada. According to, an average one-bedroom apartment in Halifax costs more than $1,600 a month, making it difficult for young people to keep up with housing, student loan payments and other monthly expenses.

The city also ranks the third highest in cost of living across 27 cities examined in Canada, with an average monthly cost of $3,427.10.

Halifax’s youth employment break down shows a significant percentage of youth engaged in part time work (29%) and unemployed (12%).

With so many young people working part-time, the city of Halifax is simply unaffordable. Even those engaged in full-time positions aren’t guaranteed a comfortable life. In fact, young full-time workers in Halifax make the lowest monthly income out of the 27 examined cities.

Additionally, the liveable wage for full-time hours in Halifax is $21.01 while the minimum wage is $13.35  making an $8.06 gap that needs to be filled to realistically live in the city.

Many Halifax youth working part time, are working in the service industry, earning a minimum, unlivable wage. In this position they will never reach security.

“Something has to budge because this economic climate, without any change, isn’t livable. This isn’t just about the future of Canadian youth – this is also my present” says Lauren.

There is some hope for financial security down the road for Halifax residents. Earnings for people between 30 and 44 make an average of $3,800 per month, and those between 45 and 59 makes $4,000.

But is this too little too late?

“I can’t even begin to imagine how bad this will be in the future if I’m not even sure I am even going to make it there,” says Emma, a young Halifax resident.

Learn more about real affordability for youth across Canada here.

Chat with us

Join us as we continue this national conversation about youth affordability. Send this article to a friend, a young person, a Halifaxian or decision maker.

Send us a message, we’d love to talk.

What else is up?

In the community



Recent Posts