Since its conception, we at Youthful Cities have dedicated ourselves to amplifying the voices of youth. One way we do this is through our national and international surveys. These are data-collection tools that take words directly from young people around the world and use their voices to inform our work.


Global Survey

What makes a city youthful? Drawing on the experience of launching the world’s first global cities ranking based off a youth perspective, we set out to dive deeper on what makes a youthful attitude. At the core of our Index are 20 categories or what we call “Urban Attributes” that youth feel are important to make a great city in which to live, work and play. But, we believe that what makes a city youthful goes beyond infrastructure—it is also about the attitude of the city and the youth within it, perhaps all citizens.

This report puts a definition to a youthful attitude and highlights the key perceptions of youth in their cities. We use the Urban Attributes to help define what’s important and how a city performs. We use the Urban Attitudes to define how Millennials perceive their mayors, governments, their cities overall and themselves. Together Attributes and Attitudes form a useful platform for urban leaders to build more youthful cities.

Top 8 Key Findings

  • A Youthful city has big benefits according to Millennials, especially economically and socially. ~50% of Millennial feel a youthful city is happier and has more jobs available.

  • Only 36% of Millennials believe they live in a youthful city so there is work to do. The good news is that the 36% who believe they live in a youthful city can be a real asset to urban leaders. Those Millennials are happy, healthy, want to contribute and want to stay in their cities.

  • Municipal Governments are not seen as youthful (only 16%) possibly because only 17% of Millennials feel municipal governments are listening to them a lot. Too bad, because 55% of youth want to participate in meeting about their city’s future.

  • Keeping Millennials in their current city will be challenging. 58% of Millennials say they will leave the city within the next 10 years, just as they become a core tax base, work force between 25-44 year olds.

Top 8 Key Findings (cont.)

  • Safety, Education and Health are most important to Millennials, likely aligning with the rest of the urban population. Fashion and Food and Nightlife are at the bottom of the list.
  • Cities perform well on some important Attributes like Education, but poorly in Environment, Employment and Affordability.

  • In terms of urgent priorities, Millennials want cities to focus on Affordability, Employment and Safety.

  • Urban Millennials consider themselves to be generally happy, healthy and entrepreneurial, but struggle to eclipse their parents financially. Youth believe they may not have the skills needed to succeed.



It has been 9 years since we first constructed over 200 indicators across 21 categories to measure youthfulness and the future of work in Canada. While they’ve served their purpose during this time, all things need to be updated to ensure they will best capture the lived experiences of youth in cities across the nation by ensuring that they’re accessible, inclusive, equitable, and diverse. From August to September we invited 18 youth representatives from youth-led and youth-serving organizations across the country to join an advisory committee and network. We convened virtually over 8 weeks to discuss and workshop indicators for an index that better captures the diverse experiences and realities of youth across the country on what it’s like to live, work, and play in their cities.


    • To reform and update existing indicators to better reflect youth of today and the vision we see for the future of Canadian cities
    • To bring together youth to gain nation wide local insight on the lived experiences of youth organizations seeking to support marginalised youth in their communities
    • To magnify Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour voices from regions across the country.