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Can young people afford to live in Canadian cities?

A young man waiting for a train on a subway station.

27 cities, 54 measures & 2,414 data points – Find out the real affordability of your city.

What does affordability look like across Canada?

With income amounts, cost of living and personal choices affecting your individual budget, understanding what affordability means for you can give you greater control over your finances and therefore your life. Check out the facts below and explore what affordability looks like for young people across Canada.

Did You Know?


On average young people (15 – 29) are making $20.96/hr across Canada.


Many young people are in sales and service positions and require liveable wages as well as equal access to upskilling and educational programs necessary for higher paying work.


Full-time jobs are youth’s ticket to affordability but it’s not a guarantee – 2/3 of the cities are still unaffordable even when young people are working full-time.


After decades of effort to create gender equity, young men continue to earn more than young women in every Canadian city in the Real Affordability Index.

Hardest hit by the pandemic, Canadian young people can’t afford any of the cities they live in – big or small

About the Real Affordability Index

The Real Affordability Index looks at how affordable it is for young people to live in Canadian cities. Unlike other indexes, the real affordability index measures income in comparison to cost of living per city, to look more realistically at whether a city is affordable to live, work and play in. The data from this index is measured through the lenses of gender, industry, fulltime work/ part time work, and variations in wage. The data from this index leaves us with an unsettling truth about being a young person in Canada. It is unaffordable to live in all 27 of the examined cities.

About Youthful Cities

Youthful Cities is a think tank that creates data-driven solutions enabling more youthful places to live, work and play.