In what’s a shock to probably no one, a new report shows that not a single city in Canada is truly affordable for people under the age of 30.
The findings from Youthful Cities’ Real Affordability Index show that most sub-30 Canadians living in both big and small cities face an average deficit of over $700 per month, with it rising in the countries biggest cities. For example, the deficit rises to $1,121.14 in Toronto.
“On average young people are losing $750 per month by living in cities across the country,” says the report. “To break even young people would need to isolate themselves—no entertainment, no transportation, and no dining out.”
“Young people are either considered change makers who are the only hope for solving the climate crisis, or they are the TikTok obsessed generation who overspends on oat milk lattes and avocado toast,” the report continues. “With 27 cities, 54 measures, and 2414 data points examined in the Real Affordability Index, we can conclude that this generation is currently still working to afford the toast, let alone the avocado.”
The average monthly deficit in Lethbridge, Alberta is only $32.92, making it the most affordable city in Canada. However, it has one of the highest gender pay gaps in the whole country, so its affordability depends on which half of the population you ask.
According to the findings, the main barriers that make cities unaffordable are low wages, full-time employment options, lack of skill development and a lack of gender pay equity. All of these things could lead to some people moving out of Canada entirely, making the problem worse.
“’Why is it so expensive to just exist?’ is a question at the top of the minds of young people living in Canadian cities,” says the index. “With this question bringing more and more financial anxiety to everyday life, it is possible that young Canadians may move out of city centers or Canada altogether causing a potential drain on talent, decreasing the vibrancy of the city, limiting young people’s options and therefore decreasing sense of belonging.”
According to the index, some possible solutions include achieving full-time employment for 66 percent of 15-24 year olds, and raising minimum wage $5 nation-wide.