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“Even living in one of the more “affordable” provinces, earning a decent paycheque and working 60+ hours a week, I still live paycheque to paycheque. I’m not poor but I am struggling…  I can only hope to live a happy life, not an affordable one.” – Real Affordability Index Youth Response, Montréal

Hi there,

Our Real Affordability Index has been sparking conversation all over the country since its launch last May.

ICYMI: Life in Canada is getting harder and harder for young people to afford – let alone to thrive. The Real Affordability Index found that the average young person faces an earnings-to-cost deficit of over $700 per month.

To keep the conversation going, we brought on five young people this summer with help from Canada Summer Jobs to bring the dataset to life with An Interactive Story of Affordability in Canada.

Take a journey through the impacts of affordability in cities across Canada and the challenges young people face as they strive to meet societal expectations, experience joy, and find meaning in an unaffordable time.

Infographic showing monthly deficits by city. Lethbridge has the lowest deficit at -$34.92 per month. The average is $-750 per month.

Bringing data to life with our interactive storytelling

Seeing the data in a spreadsheet is one thing. Looking at the stories the data tells is a whole other way to bring people along.

Gathering all the data to highlight the issues is just the first step toward real action. Transforming the raw data into something visual and relatable for people to consume draws a greater connection to, hopefully, mobilize audiences to act.

Our interactive multimedia story examines the impacts of affordability in cities across Canada and the challenges young people face as they strive to meet societal expectations, experience joy, and find meaning in this unaffordable time.

The challenges young people face when it comes to being able to afford a life where they thrive is not new. Each generation has seen its ups and downs that impact how much it costs for them to live.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, we’ve seen young people struggle more than ever before. Young people saw their education disrupted – paying the same (or even rising) tuition costs for virtual learning. They stepped up as frontline workers keeping our health care and service industries going. Those entering the workforce received a unique and challenging welcome as industries grappled to adjust to working from home and other COVID precautions.

Now – nearly three years since the first COVID-19 case was reported in Canada – young people face another challenge. As inflation is surging, the cost of living is going up and up.

Affordability (or lack thereof) is on everyone’s minds. The headlines are talking about it. Our politicians and industry leaders are talking about it. Likely, you’ve been talking about it in your circles. We’re hearing from people across the country chiming in response to the grim picture painted by the data.

The Real Affordability Index (RAI) Scrollytelling offers one more way to keep the story going.

Check Out the Interactive Story Here!


To learn more about what affordability means for you, you can check out our customizable web app to get insight into how your city ranks amongst others regarding affordability.

Get Your City’s Ranking

Youthful Cities in the news

In the community

  • The SDG Summit 2022: Looking Towards Advocacy took place this past weekend at the University of Calgary. Youthful Cities’ own Raj Dhaliwal and Elise Pundyk facilitated our Design Thinking for Urban Sustainability Workshop to showcase a design-thinking model driven by data in the spirit of co-creation to find solutions.

  • We were happy to join Leading Change in Toronto this month in the conversation they hosted with Desjardins and Kids Help Phone. We dove into the present challenges young people face related to housing, jobs, and climate change and the impacts this all has on our mental health.

  • On September 28, seventy-seven Members of Parliament stood up in the House of Commons and voted in favour of lowering Canada’s voting age to 16 years. While this is a loss in the House, the support doubled from the beginning of the day to the end and left the movement with renewed momentum. “Make no mistake. #Vote16 is coming to Canada. Each and every year, more and more countries are granting political rights to 16 and 17 year olds. Our turn is coming up!” (Dave Meslin + team at #Vote16). Read more here.

  • TORONTO FOLKS: Six Degrees is back Tuesday, October 18th examining urban futures and the upcoming municipal election. Join in for an evening of networking, drinks, and the opportunity to broaden your political discourse. Learn more here. Six Degrees: Toronto Talks Election 2022 with The Green Line is presented by The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), and the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI).

  • Are you a Youthful Cities collaborator working on making cities better and more ‘youthful’ for all? If you have information you would like to share in our monthly newsletter, please send us your copy to

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