Toronto named world’s most youthful city, in a good way

 

The CN Tower is seen along the Toronto skyline from Centre Island.Congratulations, Toronto. According to a new index measuring major cities across the world, you are the most youthful.

And that youthful tag doesn't mean you are prone to tomfoolery (except, perhaps, at city hall) or need to be chaperoned at the grocery store, it means Toronto is the best place in the world to live, work and play.

The YouthfulCities Index named Toronto the "Youthful City of the Year 2014" for its diversity, its high levels of youth employment and digital access, among other features.  The city’s nightlife, music and arts scenes also played a positive factor.

Toronto beat out Berlin and New York, which placed second and third respectively.

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The index, in its first year, is intended to quantify which cities are most attractive for people between the ages of 15 and 29. The thinking is that those cities that appeal to younger generations have an advantage at growing in the future.

"More than half of the world’s population is under 30 and more than half live in cities. It’s clear that cities will shape our world. And it is clear that the cities that will thrive and prosper are those that are able to attract and empower young people, YouthfulCities co-founder Robert Bernard said in a statement.

Slideshow: Top 10 youthful cities

10. Seoul: This city finished first overall in environmental sustainability but was last in safety and mental health.
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Reuters | Photo By LEE JAE-WON / REUTERS
Mon, 2 Sep, 2013 12:50 AM EDT

The rankings are based on youth-based indicators in 16 different categories, from civic participation and public transportation to fashion and music to entrepreneurship and youth employment.

Toronto finished in the top five in nine of the 16 categories, including diversity, youth employment, food and nightlife, music and film and public space. Toronto’s lowest rankings were 18th (out of 25) in safety and mental health and 23rd in civic participation.

Barnard also told the Toronto Star that transportation is a growing concern for Toronto's youth, as seen in a announced plan to increase public transit fares and a recent vote that almost killed the city's Bixi bike-share program.

"If city council had cancelled Bixi . . . there is a possibility that Toronto would not have won," he told the newspaper.

"The cost of transit disproportionately affects youth in the city. (Youth are) the ones who are disproportionately more likely to ride transit."

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The index intends to become an annual ranking, gauging what young adults look for in a home and how cities stack up.

StatsCanada says that in 2011, about one-fifth (1.14 million) of the Greater Toronto Area's population of 5.58 million was between the ages of 15 and 29. The city's media age of 38.6 was lower than either Ontario (40.4) or Canada (40.6).

Attracting and retaining youth and young professionals has been a recipe for success in Toronto's past; no doubt it will continue in the future.