Burlington ranked top city for young people in Ontario

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Published November 9, 2023 at 4:35 pm

Burlington downtown patio roads pedestrian detour
Pedestrian detours will run along downtown Burlington roads.

While a new report suggests cities outside of Ontario are better suited to the needs of Gen Z, Burlington emerged as the top city for a younger generation in search of remote work, more attainable housing and promising health metrics.

According to a recent report by real estate website Point2Homes, Burlington is the top city for people born between 1997 and 2012 for its high score in metrics that “define the ideal Gen Z lifestyle,” such as remote work, the share of educated residents, perceived health, mental health care access, median income, home price to income ratio and number of non-profits. 

“Gen Z prioritizes mental health, financial stability, and work/life balance. This means they could shift their focus from the fast-paced, high-priced big city life, bringing smaller urban gems into the limelight,” the report reads. 

According to Point2Homes’ 2023 City Readiness Index for Gen Z, which analyzed 35 metrics across four categories, smaller cities are more suited to young adults than large metropolises such as Toronto. 

Towns and cities such as St. John’s, Quebec City, Gatineau, Regina, Montreal, Burlington, Milton, Oakville, Laval, Kelowna and others made up the top 25. 

The report says smaller municipalities scored higher in affordable housing, cost of living, work/life balance, air quality, walk scores, entertainment opportunities and even the share of people working in advertising and marketing.  

Eight of the top 10 cities competing for Gen Z’s hearts have populations below 300,000 and even 200,000, the report says, adding that Montreal was the only big city in Canada to crack the top 10. 

Burlington comes in at 13 on the list of 50 cities, above other GTA municipalities such as Oakville, Milton, Brampton and Mississauga. Boasting a final score of 55, the city ranked 12 on the percentage of people with higher education, 21 for the median Gen Z income rank, 40 on the cost of living rank, eight on the remote work rank, two on the public transit rank, nine on the rank of homeowners under 35, 39 on the home price to income ratio rank and three on the crime severity index rank. 

The report says that unlike Millennials, Gen Z’s believe “nice to haves” are more “need to haves.” 

“And, as the second-fastest growing generation in Canada and the generation most willing to make its voice heard, their priorities could soon become society’s priorities,” the report reads, adding that Gen Z presence is growing in Canada due to young, working-age people moving to the country. 

The report says Canada is expected to have 8,616,900 Millennials in 2029, compared with 8,442,500 Baby Boomers. In 25 years, or 2046, there could be 2.2 times more Millennials than Baby Boomers (9,127,900 compared with 4,102,700). At that time, Millennials would be between 50 and 65 years of age and Baby Boomers would all be over the age of 80.

Generation Z could outnumber Baby Boomers in 2032 and Millennials in 2045, according to the report. 

“As such, big cities could fall out of grace unless they step up in the areas that are non-negotiable for the youngest generation of workers that’s slowly joining the market: Real work/life balance; fair pay; an emphasis on collaboration and community; respect for diversity at and outside of work; access to mental health services; and a dedication to solving environmental challenges,” the report reads. 

As far as other Halton municipalities go, Oakville ranks 19 on the list and Milton ranks 18. Milton comes in at 29 for the percentage of people with a higher education rank, 14 for the Gen Z median income rank and seven for the remote work rank.

Oakville is number 1 on the remote work rank and three on the crime severity index rank. 

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