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In 2019 Youthful Cities launched the first Urban Work Index with the help of RBC Future Launch and focused on topic areas traditionally associated with work and cities like affordability, employment, and entrepreneurship. As Canada’s population ages, and as the majority of Canadian youth aged 15-29 live in cities, we need to make sure our urban centers are vibrant places for youth to work and live. After two years of dialogue with youth across Canada, and a global pandemic impacting youth economic and mental health outcomes, we are back with the 2021 Urban Work Index.
The Urban Work Index is a collaboration between RBC Future Launch and Youthful Cities and is bigger (with 27 cities), and broader (we added 7 new topic categories!) than the previous index. These additions have made our report more robust to demonstrate a better and fulsome understanding of what work means to our generation. We hope the stories from this 2021 Urban Work Index presented by RBC Future Launch can serve as a blueprint for more inclusive and accessible work in our Canadian cities and spark an important national dialogue on the future of urban work and youth’s critical role in it.
A bigger broader index means we needed more data. The data used in this index is primarily from the Pivot Hub, an open database filled with Canadian urban data collected by 1200 youth across the country. Thanks to the work of Pivot 2020, a program led by Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Youthful Cities and the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity, and funded by the Government of Canada, we were able to use this massive open source to develop 76 indicators, grouped into 11 different topics, to rank cities across Canada on things that matter most to youth regarding work. These rankings are shown in the image on the right with Vancouver taking the top spot, and Fredericton coming in 27th. It’s obvious that cities that recognize youth as catalysts for change will help better capture youth priorities and ensure the city’s youthfulness, and those are the cities that ranked better overall.