Victoria best city for young professionals: Study

Survey ranks cities based on 7 indexes that attract and retain young workforce

Victoria tops the list of the best places to live and work in Canada for young professionals, according to a new study.

The "Next Cities" rankings, developed by Next Generation Consulting (NGC), evaluates a city based on the assets and amenities that are important to a young, educated workforce.

The Next Cities list ranks cities that are — or have the capacity to be — great places to live and work for the next generation.

"Simply being the cheapest place to live, or the city with the most jobs is not a long-term workforce strategy," said Rebecca Ryan, NGC's founder.

"The next generation is very savvy about choosing where they'll live. They look carefully at quality of life factors like how much time they're going to spend in traffic commuting, if they can live near a park or hike-and-bike trail and whether a city's downtown stays awake after five."

NGC has studied the residential and relocation patterns of 20 to 40 year olds since 1998 and has developed a system that evaluates a city based on seven indexes important to young professionals:

Social capital — This index accounts for how open, safe and accessible a city is to all people. It includes measures of diversity, crime rates, voter participation rates and the percentage of women- and minority-owned businesses.

Cost of lifestyle — This index includes variables in the national cost of living index, which encapsulates a roof over the head, food on the table, clothes on the back and a warm bed at night.

After hours — This index counts the places to go and things to do after work and on weekends.

Around town — This index measures a city's "walkability," airport activity, commute times and mass transit.

Vitality — This index tallies air and water quality, green space and estimates residents' overall health (e.g. physical fitness level, life expectancy, etc.).

Earning — This index measures a city's future job growth, the diversity of employment opportunities, the percentage of jobs in the knowledge-based sector and average household income.

Learning — This index tallies educational opportunities and expenditures, public library use and Wi-Fi hotspots.

Next Cities list:

1. Victoria

2. Ottawa

3. Vancouver

4. Kingston, Ont.

5. Halifax

6. Toronto

7. Calgary

8. Saskatoon

9. London, Ont.

10. Edmonton

11. Winnipeg

12. Regina

13. Thunder Bay, Ont.

14. St. Catharines-Niagra, Ont.

15. Saint John, N.B.

16. Montreal

17. Kitchener, Ont.

18. St. John's, N.L.

19. Quebec City

20. Hamilton

21. Sherbrooke, Que.

22. Sudbury, Ont.

23. Oshawa, Ont.

24. Windsor, Ont.

25. Abbotsford, B.C.

26. Trois-Rivieres, Que.

27. Saguenay, Que.

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