Can we stop small cities from losing young people?

Urban Work Index — Small & Medium Municipalities Edition

Youthful Cities is embarking on a 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. Read more in our latest blog post.

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.

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

Data-driven solutions to make cities more
youthful. connected. open. dynamic. playful. curious. inventive.

Who We Are

Youthful Cities is a social enterprise that creates data-driven solutions to make cities better for everyone. We bring together young people (15-29 year-olds) to collect data, spark dialogue, generate insights, and then work towards positive action. Click here to learn more about our values.

Keep up to date with all things Youthful Cities by following us on social media and joining our newsletter.

What We’ve Been Working On

THE GRID Video Tutorials

Learn how to use all the features that our open data portal, THE GRID, has to offer with our new video tutorials.


#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. Keep an eye on the Students Commission of Canada for more information coming from that event.


Find out more about what we’ve been involved in by checking out our latest blog post.

In the Media

Prioritizing youth in Canada’s fall economic update is a good start

Elise Pundyk of Youthful Cities responds to Canada’s fall economic statement in light of the Real Affordability Index.


Livable Cities

Listen to our operations manager Elise Pundyk talk about affordable, livable cities on RBC’s podcast, In The (K)now.


Is Canada Cool?

Check out our executive director Robert Barnard’s National Observer article all about youthfulness.

The Journey of the Real Affordability Index

Released in May 2022, the Real Affordability Index showcased nationwide issues of youth affordability. The index grabbed the attention of media, cities, and policy makers. Take a look at our process.

November 2021 – March 2022

Data Phase

  • Our team chose indicators that would be relevant to youth and decided on the method of data collection.
  • We surveyed our youth network to determine how young people were spending their money. This helped to inform our later calculations.
  • Our data team performed 2 rounds of data collection, collecting values like rent as close to the release as possible.
  • We uploaded all our data to THE GRIDour open data portal.

April 2022

Analysis Phase

  • Our team crunched the numbers and determined that no city in Canada was affordable for young people.
  • We established potential targets.
  • We created data visualizations and prepared our web-based report.

January 2022 – April 2022

Product Development Phase

  • To allow young people to customize their results, we designed and built a web app that suggests cities based on personalized income and expense data.

May 2022 – Present

Dialogue & Solution Phase

  • We launched the Real Affordability Index and press release.
  • We encouraged young people to share their voice about the issue of affordability. We publish these responses to THE GRID.
  • Inspired by the responses we received, we did a deep dive on the affordability issues in 4 major Canadian cities.
  • Our team featured in numerous articles and interviews to talk about the crisis young people are facing.
  • We conducted info sessions with individuals and groups wanting to learn more about the index and the next steps we can take.
  • We turned the Real Affordability Index into an interactive story.
  • We continue to look for opportunities to advocate for affordability and work towards solutions.

Interested in partnering with Youthful Cities? Let’s talk.