Blog Image
Can you guess the average age of Canadians today? 42 years.

As Canada gets older, attracting young people to small cities is a competitive advantage.

Do you know the average age in Canada per the latest 2021 Census release?


That’s a lot older than it was in 1982 when the median age was 29 years. What does it mean for young people when the population ages?

Evidence shows that governments shift priorities. Take, for example, in 1982, when we invested almost six percent of Canada’s GDP in education. Now it’s  4.5 percentWhat else are #Canadianyouth missing out on as Canada gets older?

Canada needs to work for young people. And it’s not just young people that stand to benefit when it does. Youth bring with them innovation, agility, and fill roles essential to our communities. 

So what can we do to attract and retain young people to live in our communities? Not just our major cities – Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver – but also the smaller communities who have just as much to lose and gain.

That’s why Youthful Cities is embarking on our new endeavour to find the best small city for young people to work in. We are setting out to create a ranking, awards and information hub to help small cities in Canada be more attractive to young workers. High-quality data will build recommendations for small and medium-sized municipalities to help retain and attract young people.

Are you a leader in your community, working within an economic development office, or a youth agency that wants to see how well your municipality is doing for young people?

Join us to add your city to our list.

For more information, visit:

What is a youthful city anyway?

Watch as Youthful Cities’ Executive Director and Co-Founder Robert Barnard explores exactly what that means.

Youthful Cities’ Urban Work Index

Since 2019, we have measured what makes cities great for young people to work in partnership with RBC Future Launch through the Urban Work Index (UWI).

This time though, we are asking for other communities to join us.

Municipalities included in the index — Fredericton, Yellowknife, Charlottetown, Moncton, Whitehorse, and Lethbridge

Will your community be the next to join our Index to find out the top ranked small municipalities for young people to work in?

Sign up or reach out today at

The data for all of our projects is open and accessible to everyone on THE GRID. Join Youthful Cities’ Web Development Coordinator Genna Weber as she walks through how to get the most out of the data in her tutorial videos. Check them out!

Youthful Cities Collaborations

  • Interested in learning more about the importance of meaningful support for Canada’s young people? Read ‘Is Canada Cool?” by our own Robert Barnard for Canada’s National Observer.
  • #CanadaWeWant Conference 2022
    Students Commission of Canada (SDS) 
    invited Youthful Cities to join in the #CanadaWeWant Conference 2022 as young Canadians came together to explore the question: What do young people want for Canada’s future? During the conference this past October, we supported participant conversations on affordability in Canada using Real Affordability data.During the in-person portion conference, our Executive Director and Co-founder Robert Barnard joined in a panel discussion with SCS, UNICEF Canada, and RBC to discuss the challenges young people face when it comes to affordability in the country. Keep an eye on the Students Commission of Canada for more information coming from that event.
  • Communities Building Youth Futures Annual Gathering #CBYF2022
    The Youthful Cities team came together in Montréal for the Communities Building Youth Futures Annual Gathering to celebrate the community-led impact and the CBYF communities working to improve the future of 7,500 youth.
  • We’re excited about the launch of the In The (K)now Podcast Series – the podcast for today’s citizens and tomorrow’s leaders. Our Assistant Manager of Operations Elise Pundyk joined hosts Kenisha Humber and Griffin Toplotsky to talk about Livable Cities in Episode 3.

From Our Network

  • The Young Canadians Roundtable on Health (YCRH) is looking for youth contributors to submit their own resiliency techniques/skills they use to cope for our children’s book. If you know of any youth between the ages of 12-25 and are interested in submitting one, please have them fill out this form. The deadline for submissions is November 30th, 2022 at 11:59 pm PST.

  • IDEALIST / Fictive Kin Equity Lab has a special offering this month until December 2. Join the free How Not to (Mis)Use Data & Alienate People eWebinar. Register here.

    December 2 is also when the pre-registration period for RESPONSEABLE™ ends. Check out the program and get your spot in the upcoming cohort here.

  • Affordability is always at the top of our minds and a huge part of that conversation is housing. Polling by Research Co. for Generation Squeeze shows that a majority of Canadians are now ready for governments to soften the sharpest edges of the home ownership tax shelter. 

    “This poll shows many Canadians would support politicians to act courageously to reduce the home ownership tax shelter, because this policy sustains housing unaffordability and wealth inequality. We’ve seen home prices stall as a result of the six interest rate hikes recently made by the Bank of Canada. But prices have stalled at unsustainably high levels, leaving a massive gap between home prices and earnings. More needs to be done.”

     Dr. Paul Kershaw, policy professor at the UBC School of Population Health and Founder of Generation Squeeze

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

Recent Posts