A Portrait of Canadian Youth: March 2019 Updates

Release date: May 8, 2019

March 2019

  1. Who are Canadian youth and where do they live?
  2. What are Canadian youth doing?
  3. How are Canadian youth doing?
  4. What's next?

Today's youth are unlike any generation before!

They are more:

  • Diverse
  • Connected
  • Socially Engaged
  • Educated

Many youth are reaping the benefits but others face challenges such as...

  • finding a full time job
  • social exclusion
  • cyberbullying
  • mental health challenges and addiction
  • higher risk of being obese

Also important to think about today's youth within the entire life course.

It is important to remember that today's youth will become Canada's future parents, prime-age workers, and seniors. Their early experiences and vulnerabilities can shape their outcomes later in life.

Who are Canadian youth and where do they live?

Canadian youth in numbers

There are over 7 million youth across the country, aged 15 to 29.

Chart 1 - Proportion of Canadian youth, by age group, 2018
Description for Chart 1
Proportion of Canadian youth, by age group, 2018
Age category Percentage of youth
Source: Statistics Canada, 2018 Demographic Estimates Program (preliminary estimates).
15 to 19 30
20 to 24 years 34
25 to 29 years 36

In July 2018, 15-29 year-olds represented 19.2% of the country's population. Medium growth population projections suggest that this proportion will fall to 18% by 2035.

Between 2008 and 2018, the number of youth aged 25 to 29 increased the most. The number of youth aged 15 to 19 declined.

Did you know?

Similar to other countries, Canada's youth represent a smaller share of the population than in the past.

Youth's share of the population highest in Western Canada and the North

Map 1 - Canada, Percentage of the population aged 15 to 30 in 2017, by census division (CD)
Description for Map 1
Canada
Percentage of the population aged 15 to 30 in 2017, by census division (CD)
Province or Territory Census Division Proportion of the population aged 15 to 30 in 2017
Newfoundland and Labrador 1001 Division No. 1 19.7%
Newfoundland and Labrador 1002 Division No. 2 14.1%
Newfoundland and Labrador 1003 Division No. 3 12.7%
Newfoundland and Labrador 1004 Division No. 4 14.5%
Newfoundland and Labrador 1005 Division No. 5 17.2%
Newfoundland and Labrador 1006 Division No. 6 16.1%
Newfoundland and Labrador 1007 Division No. 7 13.5%
Newfoundland and Labrador 1008 Division No. 8 12.4%
Newfoundland and Labrador 1009 Division No. 9 12.5%
Newfoundland and Labrador 1010 Division No. 10 20.8%
Newfoundland and Labrador 1011 Division No. 11 24.3%
Prince Edward Island 1101 Kings 17.6%
Prince Edward Island 1102 Queens 20.6%
Prince Edward Island 1103 Prince 17.2%
Nova Scotia 1201 Shelburne 15.4%
Nova Scotia 1202 Yarmouth 16.6%
Nova Scotia 1203 Digby 14.5%
Nova Scotia 1204 Queens 13.4%
Nova Scotia 1205 Annapolis 14.3%
Nova Scotia 1206 Lunenburg 14.5%
Nova Scotia 1207 Kings 18.3%
Nova Scotia 1208 Hants 17.1%
Nova Scotia 1209 Halifax 22.6%
Nova Scotia 1210 Colchester 17.6%
Nova Scotia 1211 Cumberland 15.3%
Nova Scotia 1212 Pictou 16.0%
Nova Scotia 1213 Guysborough 11.7%
Nova Scotia 1214 Antigonish 18.9%
Nova Scotia 1215 Inverness 16.0%
Nova Scotia 1216 Richmond 15.3%
Nova Scotia 1217 Cape Breton 17.7%
Nova Scotia 1218 Victoria 14.3%
New Brunswick 1301 Saint John 19.3%
New Brunswick 1302 Charlotte 15.9%
New Brunswick 1303 Sunbury 22.7%
New Brunswick 1304 Queens 12.8%
New Brunswick 1305 Kings 17.5%
New Brunswick 1306 Albert 17.1%
New Brunswick 1307 Westmorland 18.8%
New Brunswick 1308 Kent 14.2%
New Brunswick 1309 Northumberland 15.8%
New Brunswick 1310 York 21.0%
New Brunswick 1311 Carleton 17.6%
New Brunswick 1312 Victoria 15.5%
New Brunswick 1313 Madawaska 14.5%
New Brunswick 1314 Restigouche 15.1%
New Brunswick 1315 Gloucester 14.5%
Quebec 2401 Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine 13.7%
Quebec 2402 Le Rocher-Percé 12.8%
Quebec 2403 La Côte-de-Gaspé 15.1%
Quebec 2404 La Haute-Gaspésie 12.7%
Quebec 2405 Bonaventure 13.9%
Quebec 2406 Avignon 14.6%
Quebec 2407 La Matapédia 15.0%
Quebec 2408 Matane 14.1%
Quebec 2409 La Mitis 14.2%
Quebec 2410 Rimouski-Neigette 17.4%
Quebec 2411 Les Basques 11.6%
Quebec 2412 Rivière-du-Loup 16.6%
Quebec 2413 Témiscouata 13.2%
Quebec 2414 Kamouraska 14.6%
Quebec 2415 Charlevoix-Est 13.8%
Quebec 2416 Charlevoix 13.5%
Quebec 2417 L'Islet 13.4%
Quebec 2418 Montmagny 14.8%
Quebec 2419 Bellechasse 16.7%
Quebec 2420 L'Île-d'Orléans 14.4%
Quebec 2421 La Côte-de-Beaupré 14.9%
Quebec 2422 La Jacques-Cartier 17.2%
Quebec 2423 Québec 19.9%
Quebec 2425 Lévis 17.7%
Quebec 2426 La Nouvelle-Beauce 18.1%
Quebec 2427 Robert-Cliche 16.2%
Quebec 2428 Les Etchemins 14.3%
Quebec 2429 Beauce-Sartigan 17.4%
Quebec 2430 Le Granit 14.5%
Quebec 2431 Les Appalaches 14.5%
Quebec 2432 L'Érable 16.4%
Quebec 2433 Lotbinière 18.1%
Quebec 2434 Portneuf 15.4%
Quebec 2435 Mékinac 11.1%
Quebec 2436 Shawinigan 14.7%
Quebec 2437 Francheville 18.4%
Quebec 2438 Bécancour 15.8%
Quebec 2439 Arthabaska 16.8%
Quebec 2440 Les Sources 13.4%
Quebec 2441 Le Haut-Saint-François 15.1%
Quebec 2442 Le Val-Saint-François 15.6%
Quebec 2443 Sherbrooke 22.2%
Quebec 2444 Coaticook 17.8%
Quebec 2445 Memphrémagog 13.5%
Quebec 2446 Brome-Missisquoi 15.1%
Quebec 2447 La Haute-Yamaska 17.0%
Quebec 2448 Acton 16.4%
Quebec 2449 Drummond 17.8%
Quebec 2450 Nicolet-Yamaska 16.6%
Quebec 2451 Maskinongé 13.6%
Quebec 2452 D'Autray 16.8%
Quebec 2453 Pierre-De Saurel 14.8%
Quebec 2454 Les Maskoutains 18.3%
Quebec 2455 Rouville 17.8%
Quebec 2456 Le Haut-Richelieu 18.3%
Quebec 2457 La Vallée-du-Richelieu 17.0%
Quebec 2458 Longueuil 18.4%
Quebec 2459 Marguerite-D'Youville 18.7%
Quebec 2460 L'Assomption 18.4%
Quebec 2461 Joliette 17.2%
Quebec 2462 Matawinie 13.7%
Quebec 2463 Montcalm 19.2%
Quebec 2464 Les Moulins 18.8%
Quebec 2465 Laval 19.2%
Quebec 2466 Montréal 22.2%
Quebec 2467 Roussillon 19.0%
Quebec 2468 Les Jardins-de-Napierville 19.6%
Quebec 2469 Le Haut-Saint-Laurent 16.9%
Quebec 2470 Beauharnois-Salaberry 18.4%
Quebec 2471 Vaudreuil-Soulanges 17.6%
Quebec 2472 Deux-Montagnes 17.8%
Quebec 2473 Thérèse-De Blainville 20.5%
Quebec 2474 Mirabel 21.0%
Quebec 2475 La Rivière-du-Nord 18.5%
Quebec 2476 Argenteuil 15.5%
Quebec 2477 Les Pays-d'en-Haut 12.0%
Quebec 2478 Les Laurentides 14.0%
Quebec 2479 Antoine-Labelle 13.8%
Quebec 2480 Papineau 14.1%
Quebec 2481 Gatineau 20.3%
Quebec 2482 Les Collines-de-l'Outaouais 16.6%
Quebec 2483 La Vallée-de-la-Gatineau 14.4%
Quebec 2484 Pontiac 16.3%
Quebec 2485 Témiscamingue 15.3%
Quebec 2486 Rouyn-Noranda 20.1%
Quebec 2487 Abitibi-Ouest 16.3%
Quebec 2488 Abitibi 18.3%
Quebec 2489 La Vallée-de-l'Or 19.2%
Quebec 2490 La Tuque 17.3%
Quebec 2491 Le Domaine-du-Roy 16.0%
Quebec 2492 Maria-Chapdelaine 14.6%
Quebec 2493 Lac-Saint-Jean-Est 16.2%
Quebec 2494 Le Saguenay-et-son-Fjord 17.4%
Quebec 2495 La Haute-Côte-Nord 13.4%
Quebec 2496 Manicouagan 16.7%
Quebec 2497 Sept-Rivières--Caniapiscau 18.8%
Quebec 2498 Minganie--Le Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent 16.7%
Quebec 2499 Nord-du-Québec 25.3%
Ontario 3501 Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry 17.7%
Ontario 3502 Prescott and Russell 17.7%
Ontario 3506 Ottawa 22.4%
Ontario 3507 Leeds and Grenville 16.5%
Ontario 3509 Lanark 16.5%
Ontario 3510 Frontenac 21.8%
Ontario 3511 Lennox and Addington 16.4%
Ontario 3512 Hastings 18.1%
Ontario 3513 Prince Edward 13.8%
Ontario 3514 Northumberland 16.0%
Ontario 3515 Peterborough 19.4%
Ontario 3516 Kawartha Lakes 16.4%
Ontario 3518 Durham 20.9%
Ontario 3519 York 20.7%
Ontario 3520 Toronto 23.5%
Ontario 3521 Peel 23.2%
Ontario 3522 Dufferin 20.6%
Ontario 3523 Wellington 21.6%
Ontario 3524 Halton 19.1%
Ontario 3525 Hamilton 21.4%
Ontario 3526 Niagara 19.5%
Ontario 3528 Haldimand-Norfolk 18.4%
Ontario 3529 Brant 19.8%
Ontario 3530 Waterloo 23.0%
Ontario 3531 Perth 19.8%
Ontario 3532 Oxford 19.3%
Ontario 3534 Elgin 18.3%
Ontario 3536 Chatham-Kent 18.1%
Ontario 3537 Essex 20.8%
Ontario 3538 Lambton 18.2%
Ontario 3539 Middlesex 22.7%
Ontario 3540 Huron 18.2%
Ontario 3541 Bruce 16.5%
Ontario 3542 Grey 17.1%
Ontario 3543 Simcoe 19.6%
Ontario 3544 Muskoka 16.5%
Ontario 3546 Haliburton 12.4%
Ontario 3547 Renfrew 18.4%
Ontario 3548 Nipissing 19.6%
Ontario 3549 Parry Sound 14.5%
Ontario 3551 Manitoulin 16.3%
Ontario 3552 Sudbury 15.6%
Ontario 3553 Greater Sudbury 20.2%
Ontario 3554 Timiskaming 17.5%
Ontario 3556 Cochrane 19.2%
Ontario 3557 Algoma 17.3%
Ontario 3558 Thunder Bay 20.1%
Ontario 3559 Rainy River 18.6%
Ontario 3560 Kenora 22.2%
Manitoba 4601 Division No. 1 14.4%
Manitoba 4602 Division No. 2 22.8%
Manitoba 4603 Division No. 3 22.9%
Manitoba 4604 Division No. 4 18.8%
Manitoba 4605 Division No. 5 16.7%
Manitoba 4606 Division No. 6 19.5%
Manitoba 4607 Division No. 7 22.8%
Manitoba 4608 Division No. 8 21.2%
Manitoba 4609 Division No. 9 20.7%
Manitoba 4610 Division No. 10 20.6%
Manitoba 4611 Division No. 11 23.1%
Manitoba 4612 Division No. 12 18.6%
Manitoba 4613 Division No. 13 19.2%
Manitoba 4614 Division No. 14 20.2%
Manitoba 4615 Division No. 15 15.9%
Manitoba 4616 Division No. 16 18.8%
Manitoba 4617 Division No. 17 17.1%
Manitoba 4618 Division No. 18 17.1%
Manitoba 4619 Division No. 19 24.5%
Manitoba 4620 Division No. 20 18.0%
Manitoba 4621 Division No. 21 22.7%
Manitoba 4622 Division No. 22 26.9%
Manitoba 4623 Division No. 23 26.3%
Saskatchewan 4701 Division No. 1 20.3%
Saskatchewan 4702 Division No. 2 18.8%
Saskatchewan 4703 Division No. 3 15.8%
Saskatchewan 4704 Division No. 4 18.9%
Saskatchewan 4705 Division No. 5 17.4%
Saskatchewan 4706 Division No. 6 22.2%
Saskatchewan 4707 Division No. 7 18.9%
Saskatchewan 4708 Division No. 8 19.0%
Saskatchewan 4709 Division No. 9 17.6%
Saskatchewan 4710 Division No. 10 17.0%
Saskatchewan 4711 Division No. 11 23.7%
Saskatchewan 4712 Division No. 12 17.4%
Saskatchewan 4713 Division No. 13 19.4%
Saskatchewan 4714 Division No. 14 17.5%
Saskatchewan 4715 Division No. 15 20.6%
Saskatchewan 4716 Division No. 16 19.2%
Saskatchewan 4717 Division No. 17 23.0%
Saskatchewan 4718 Division No. 18 27.4%
Alberta 4801 Division No. 1 19.6%
Alberta 4802 Division No. 2 22.7%
Alberta 4803 Division No. 3 18.6%
Alberta 4804 Division No. 4 17.6%
Alberta 4805 Division No. 5 19.1%
Alberta 4806 Division No. 6 21.3%
Alberta 4807 Division No. 7 19.2%
Alberta 4808 Division No. 8 21.3%
Alberta 4809 Division No. 9 19.6%
Alberta 4810 Division No. 10 19.1%
Alberta 4811 Division No. 11 22.7%
Alberta 4812 Division No. 12 22.1%
Alberta 4813 Division No. 13 18.0%
Alberta 4814 Division No. 14 19.9%
Alberta 4815 Division No. 15 23.2%
Alberta 4816 Division No. 16 23.4%
Alberta 4817 Division No. 17 23.4%
Alberta 4818 Division No. 18 21.1%
Alberta 4819 Division No. 19 22.9%
British Columbia 5901 East Kootenay 16.9%
British Columbia 5903 Central Kootenay 15.4%
British Columbia 5905 Kootenay Boundary 14.7%
British Columbia 5907 Okanagan-Similkameen 13.8%
British Columbia 5909 Fraser Valley 20.1%
British Columbia 5915 Greater Vancouver 22.2%
British Columbia 5917 Capital 19.9%
British Columbia 5919 Cowichan Valley 15.5%
British Columbia 5921 Nanaimo 16.4%
British Columbia 5923 Alberni-Clayoquot 17.2%
British Columbia 5924 Strathcona 16.2%
British Columbia 5926 Comox Valley 15.3%
British Columbia 5927 Powell River 13.6%
British Columbia 5929 Sunshine Coast 12.4%
British Columbia 5931 Squamish-Lillooet 21.2%
British Columbia 5933 Thompson-Nicola 19.6%
British Columbia 5935 Central Okanagan 19.8%
British Columbia 5937 North Okanagan 16.1%
British Columbia 5939 Columbia-Shuswap 15.1%
British Columbia 5941 Cariboo 16.9%
British Columbia 5943 Mount Waddington 17.1%
British Columbia 5945 Central Coast 17.9%
British Columbia 5947 Skeena-Queen Charlotte 20.4%
British Columbia 5949 Kitimat-Stikine 20.2%
British Columbia 5951 Bulkley-Nechako 19.6%
British Columbia 5953 Fraser-Fort George 22.1%
British Columbia 5955 Peace River 23.7%
British Columbia 5957 Stikine 16.7%
British Columbia 5959 Northern Rockies 20.7%
Yukon 6001 Yukon 20.1%
Northwest Territories 6101 Region 1 24.0%
Northwest Territories 6102 Region 2 26.0%
Northwest Territories 6103 Region 3 27.0%
Northwest Territories 6104 Region 4 23.0%
Northwest Territories 6105 Region 5 22.5%
Northwest Territories 6106 Region 6 23.5%
Nunavut 6204 Baffin 26.0%
Nunavut 6205 Keewatin 28.9%
Nunavut 6208 Kitikmeot 27.7%
Source: Statistics Canada, 2017, Demographic Estimates Program (preliminary estimates).
Chart 2 - Percentage of youth aged 15 to 29 who do not live in a town or large urban centre, by province, 2017
Description for Chart 2
Percentage of youth aged 15 to 29 who do not live in a townTable note 1 or large urban centreTable note 2, by province, 2017
Province or territory Percentage of youth
Source: Statistics Canada, 2017, Demographic Estimates Program (preliminary estimates).
Canada 15
Newfoundland and Laborador 39
Prince Edward Island 38
Nova Scotia 28
New Brunswick 34
Quebec 16
Ontario 9
Manitoba 29
Saskatchewan 33
Alberta 16
British Columbia 10
Yukon 23
North West Territories 51
Nunavut 100

Youth are highly diverse

In 2016, 27% of youth aged 15 to 30 were identified as members of a visible minority group, compared with 13% in 1996.

Chart 3 - Percentage of persons who belong to a visible minority group
Description for Chart 3
Percentage of persons who belong to a visible minority group
  1996 2016
Sources: Statistics Canada, 1996 and 2016 Census.
Age 15 to 30 13 27
Age 65 or older 6 13
Chart 4 - Proportion of youth aged 15 to 30 who belong to a visible minority group, selected Census metropolitan areas (CMAs), 2016 Census of Population
Description for Chart 4
Proportion of youth aged 15 to 30 who belong to a visible minority group, selected Census metropolitan areas (CMAs), 2016 Census of Population
  Percentage of youth
Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census.
Saguenay 2
Québec 7
Halifax 17
Montreal 26
Calgary 35
Vancouver 55
Toronto 56

Did you know?

Almost 74% of youth have friends from another ethnic group.

In 2016, 5.4% of youth aged 15 to 30 identified as Black, compared with 2.5% in 1996.

There were slightly more Black females (51.6%) than Black males.

Chart 5 - Percent of the youth aged 15 to 30 who self-identified as Black, Canada, 2016
Description for Chart 5
Percent of the youth aged 15 to 30 who self-identified as Black, Canada, 2016
Age 1996 2016
Source: Statistics Canada, Census of Population, 2016.
15 to 30 years 2.5 5.4
31 to 64 years 1.7 3.8
65 years and over 0.8 2.2
Chart 6 - Black population in selected census metropolitan areas by age groups, Canada, 2016
Description for Chart 6
Black population in selected census metropolitan areas by age groups, Canada, 2016
  15 to 30 years 31 to 64 years 65 years and over
Source: Statistics Canada, Census of Population, 2016.
 Hamilton 6,385 8,950 1,955
Winnipeg 7,715 10,585 1,420
Vancouver 7,890 12,555 1,920
Calgary 12,175 22,965 1,585
Edmonton 4,460 23,165 1,715
Ottawa-Gatineau 22,455 29,720 4,045
Montréal 66,810 112,425 20,550
Toronto 112,370 186,610 42,600

Toronto, Montréal and Ottawa-Gatineau are the CMAs with the highest Black populations.

In 2016, 76% of youth in Toronto were immigrants (1st generation) or had at least one parent who is an immigrant (2nd generation).

Chart 7 - The generational status of youth aged 15 to 30, Canada and selected CMAs, 2016 Census of Population
Description for Chart 7
The generational status of youth aged 15 to 30, Canada and selected CMAs, 2016 Census of Population
  First generation Second generation Third generation or more
Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census.
Canada 21% 20% 60%
Montréal 22% 21% 57%
Toronto 38% 37% 25%
Vancouver 38% 30% 31%
Chart 8 - About 5% to 8% of Canadian youth (aged 15 to 30) consider themselves to be either homosexual or bisexual
Description for Chart 8
About 5% to 8% of Canadian youth (aged 15 to 30) consider themselves to be either homosexual or bisexual
  Men Women
Age
15-30 31-64 65+ 15-30 31-64 65+
Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 General Social Survey on Canadians at Work and Home.
Homosexual 3% 2% 1% 2% 1% 0%
Bisexual 2% 1% 1% 6% 1% 0%
Don't know 2% 1% 2% 2% 1% 2%

The number of young Indigenous people is growing

From 2006 to 2016, the number of First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth aged 15 to 30 increased by 39%, compared to just over 5% for non-Indigenous youth.

Chart 9 - Percent increase in number of youth, aged 15 to 30, by Aboriginal identity, 2006 to 2016
Description for Chart 9
Percent increase in number of youth, aged 15 to 30, by Aboriginal identity, 2006 to 2016
Aboriginal identity Percent increase in number of youth
Sources: Statistics Canada, 2016 and 2006 Census.
First Nations 41%
Métis 39%
Inuit 24%
Non-Indigenous 5%
Chart 10 - Proportion of youth aged 15 to 30 who are First Nations, Métis or Inuit, selected CMAs, 2016 Census of Population
Description for Chart 10
Proportion of youth aged 15 to 30 who are First Nations, Métis or Inuit, selected CMAs, 2016 Census of Population
  Percentage of youth
Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census.
Toronto 1
Vancouver 3
Canada 6
Edmonton 7
Regina 12
Saskatoon 13
Winnipeg 15
Thunder Bay 18

More youth are living with their parents

In 2016, 57% of youth aged 15 to 30, were living with their parents, which is practically unchanged from 56% in 2001.

However, the largest increase was for youth aged 27 to 30 years old. 22% were living with their parents in 2016 compared to 18% in 2001. This varied significantly by CMA.

Proportion of youth age 27 to 30 who live with their parents
Census metropolitan area Percent (%)
Sources: Statistics Canada, 2016 and 2001 Census
Toronto 36
Hamilton 30
Vancouver 28
Canada 22
Montréal 19
Calgary 16
Québec 9

What are Canadian youth doing?

Youth are more connected than any other generation

  • Nearly 100% of youth aged 15 to 30 use the Internet on a daily basis or own their own smartphone – broadly similar across all provinces and across all household income groups.
  • 77% of youth aged 15 to 30 use the Internet to follow news and current affairs.
  • One half of youth aged 25 to 30 conduct transactions on the Internet at least weekly – almost twice that of older Canadians.
  • 93% of youth aged 15 to 30 use social networking sites.
Chart 11 - Virtually all youth aged 15 to 30 use social networking sites
Description for Chart 11
Virtually all youth aged 15 to 30 use social networking sites
Age Percent
Note: Includes only those that reported using the Internet.
Source: Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2013.
15 to 30 93
31 to 44 79
45 to 54 58
55 to 64 52
65+ 36

But higher technology use also brings new challenges

17% of youth aged 15 to 30 said they were cyberbullied or cyberstalked in the past 5 years.

Youth are less likely to vote but are still socially and civically engaged

Giving, volunteering and participating

  • 67% of 15 to 30 years olds are members of a group, organization or association, compared with 65% for the overall Canadian population.
  • 48% of youth aged 15 to 30 volunteer.
  • 71% of those aged 15 to 30 said they gave to a charitable or non-profit organization.
  • 45% of youth aged 15 to 30 have confidence in Canadian Parliament, compared with 38% for the general population.
Chart 12 - Voting rates in federal elections by age group, 2011 and 2015
Description for Chart 12
Voting rates in federal elections by age group, 2011 and 2015
Age 2011 2015
Sources: Elections Canada, 2011 and 2015, Estimation of Voter Turnout by Age Group and Gender at the General Election.
18 to 24 38.8 57.1
25 to 34 45.1 57.4
35 to 44 54.5 61.9
45 to 54 64.5 66.6
55 to 64 71.5 73.7
65 to 74 75.1 78.8
75 and over 60.3 67.4

Did you know?

The proportion of young people aged 15 to 30 who stated that they rarely or never followed news and current affairs almost doubled, from 12% in 2003 to 23% in 2013.

Youth aged 15 to 30 contribute 23% of all volunteer hours in Canada.

Youth participate actively in sports, arts and cultural activities

Chart 13 - Participation in sports activities during past 12 months
Description for Chart 13
Participation in sports activities during past 12 months
Household income age 15-30 age 31-49 age 50 or older
%
Low household income (<$60,000) 31.3 18.8 17.1
Moderate household income ($60,000-$139,999) 42.5 29.0 21.2
High household income ($140,000 or more) 43.9 36.3 32.1
Sources: Statistics Canada, 2016 General Social Survey on Canadians at Work and Home.
Chart 14 - Participation in arts/culture activities during past 12 months
Description for Chart 14
Participation in arts/culture activities during past 12 months
Household income 15-30 31-49 50 or older
%
Low household income (<$60,000) 56.3 50.4 46.1
Moderate household income ($60,000-$139,999) 58.4 47.5 47.1
High household income ($140,000 or more) 63.8 47.1 50.2
Sources: Statistics Canada, 2016 General Social Survey on Canadians at Work and Home.

Youth are more educated than ever

  • 97% of 15 year olds attend school
  • 5% of 21 year olds enroll in apprenticeship programs
  • 24% of 19 year olds in college
  • 36% of 21 year olds at university
Chart 15 - Percentage of youth, 25-30, with a college certificate/diploma or Bachelor's degree
Description for Chart 15
Percentage of youth, 25-30, with a college certificate/diploma or Bachelor's degree
Year Men Women
College BA or higher College BA or higher
Sources: Statistics Canada, 1990 to 2018 Labour Force Survey.
1990 15.3 15.2 18.9 14.8
1997 20.3 22.2 26.6 24.5
2007 22.7 23.8 28.6 33.1
2017 21.6 30.5 27.5 42.7

Did you know?

A large gap in postsecondary enrolment remains between youth from lower and higher income families. Non-financial factors, such as academic performance and parental education, play a significant role.

In 2016, 9% of men and 5% of women aged 25 to 34 had not completed high school, compared to 22% and 19%, respectively, in 1990. In 2011, 31% of Indigenous men and 25% of Indigenous women had not completed high school.

Young men and women continue to enter different types of programs and fields of study

Chart 16 - Selected major fields of study among university students aged 15 to 29 years, 2016/17
Description for Chart 16
Selected major fields of study among university students aged 15 to 29 years, 2016/17
Selected field of study Men Women
%
Source: Statistics Canada, 2016-2017 Postsecondary Student Information System.
Mathematics & Computer Science 7.3 2.2
Engineering & Architecture 20.0 5.0
Education 2.2 6.5
Physical & Life Sciences 11.8 11.7
Humanities 9.7 11.9
Health 8.0 15.4
Business Mgmt & Public Admin. 20.6 17.0
Social Sciences 14.2 22.6
Chart 17 - Change in major fields of study undertaken by university students aged 15 to 29 years, 1992/93 to 2016/17
Description for Chart 17
Change in major fields of study undertaken by university students aged 15 to 29 years, 1992/93 to 2016/17
Field of study Men Women
percentage points
Sources: Statistics Canada, 2016-2017 and 1992-1993 Postsecondary Student Information System
Health 0.6 5.4
Business management and public administration 4.4 2.5
Engineering and architecture -0.2 2
Physical and life sciences 4.9 1.9
Social sciences -3.3 0.4
Mathematics and computer science 1 -0.2
Education -1.5 -4.2
Humanities -6.2 -8.8

Did you know?

Literacy and numeracy scores are higher among 15 to 29 year olds than any other age group.

Lifetime earnings vary considerably across educational attainment and fields of study

Among youth from the early 1990s, average cumulative earnings through their thirties and forties were over $700,000 higher among men with a bachelor's degree than among men with a high school diploma. Among women, the difference was $442,000.

These results varied significantly by field of study:

  • Men with an engineering degree made over 50% more than men with a degree in the humanities.
  • Women in mathematics, physical sciences and business administration made 25% more than women in the social sciences.
Chart 18 - Median cumulative earnings over 20 years among an early 1990s cohort of bachelor degree holders, by sex and selected fields of study
Description for Chart 18
Median cumulative earnings over 20 years among an early 1990s cohort of bachelor degree holders, by sex and selected fields of study
Field of study Women Men
Sources: Statistics Canada, Longitudinal Worker File and 1991 Census.
Humanities $808,200 $1,144,600
Education $1,044,600 $1,290,400
Social Sciences $824,300 $1,358,900
Mathematic & Physical Sciences $1,148,700 $1,607,500
Business Administration $1,169,100 $1,619,400
Health $1,094,000 $1,627,600
Engineering $972,600 $1,845,000

Costs of education have increased and many graduates continue to be burdened with debt

  • Average tuition fees for full-time Canadian undergraduate students increased faster than the rate of inflation over the last decade.
  • Average tuition fees for full-time Canadian undergraduate students are lowest in Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec, and highest in Ontario and Nova Scotia.
  • 53% of youth aged 15 to 30 years graduating with a bachelor's degree have student debts, similar to the early 2000s.
Chart 19 - Percentage of graduates aged 15 to 30 years with student debt and average debt at graduation among those with debt
Description for Chart 19
Percentage of graduates aged 15 to 30 years with student debt and average debt at graduation among those with debt
  Percentage of graduates with student debts Average debt at graduation
Source: Statistics Canada, 2014, "The cumulative earnings of postsecondary graduates over 20 years: results by field of study," Economic Insights.
College 51% $15,000
Bachelor's 53% $25,600
Master's 53% $27,900
Doctorate 54% $47,000

How are Canadian youth doing?

Fewer young men in full-time or permanent jobs...resulting in lower earnings at the middle and lower end of the earnings distribution

Chart 20 - Percentage of youth population employed full-time
Description for Chart 20
Percentage of youth population employed full-time
  1976 2018
Note: Note: Full-time students excluded. Full-time employment refers to 30 hours or more per week. Due to data limitations, individuals are aged 25-29 in 1989.
Sources: 1989, General Social Survey and Labour Force Survey (March and September files).
Men 25-30 89.8 81.4
Women 25-30 43.5 67.5
Chart 21 - Temporary employment among full-time employees
Description for Chart 21
Temporary employment among full-time employees
  1989 2018
Note: Note: Full-time students excluded. Full-time employment refers to 30 hours or more per week. Due to data limitations, individuals are aged 25-29 in 1989.
Sources: 1989, General Social Survey and Labour Force Survey (March and September files).
Men age 25-30 5.2% 10.5%
Women age 25-30 2.1% 14.2%

Did you know?

The percentage of young women employed full-time rose because of their growing labour force participation.

Chart 22 - Cumulative earnings among young men, age 28 to 39, selected cohorts
Description for Chart 22
Cumulative earnings (in 2015 dollars) among young men, age 28 to 39, selected cohorts
  25th percentile 50th percentile 75th percentile
Source: Statistics Canada, 2018, "Wages for young workers up to the age of 40," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series.
1978-1989 410,132.35 657,688.93 874,524.59
1986-1997 327,423.86 583,688.29 820,667.53
1996-2007 322,251.22 564,526.55 830,784.11
2004-2015 342,202.93 601,113.96 906,023.33

Did you know?

Young men and women at the top of the earnings distribution are faring better than ever.

Chart 23 - Cumulative earnings among young women, age 28 to 39, selected cohorts
Description for Chart 23
Cumulative earnings (in 2015 dollars) among young women, age 28 to 39, selected cohorts
  25th percentile 50th percentile 75th percentile
Source: Statistics Canada, 2018, "Wages for young workers up to the age of 40," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series.
1978-1989 165,060.49 355,220.91 547,649.75
1986-1997 168,180.88 356,129.43 549,798.67
1996-2007 190,676.52 382,820.83 602,025.03
2004-2015 211,459.83 417,950.74 668,313.14

Did you know?

In contrast to young men, young women have significantly increased their annual hours of work and moved to better-paid occupations, resulting in higher cumulative earnings.

Some of the occupations in which youth are working

Among employed women aged 15 to 30...

  • ...about 19% worked in professional occupations such as nurses, teachers and accountants.
  • ...about 14% worked in technical and paraprofessional occupations such as paralegals and health technicians.
  • ...about 14% worked in administrative occupations such as office administrators.
  • ...about 28% worked in personal and customer service occupations, such as food and beverage servers and information services representatives.
  • ...about 19% worked in sales occupations, such as cashiers and retail salespersons.

Among employed men aged 25 to 34...

  • ...about 13% worked in professional occupations such as computers and IT professionals, accountants and engineers.
  • ...about 9% worked in technical and paraprofessional occupations such as computer tech support, firefighters and police officers.
  • ...about 15% worked in industrial and construction occupations, such as electricians, carpenters and mechanics.
  • ...about 18% worked in personal and customer service occupations, such as cooks and food and beverage servers.
  • ...about 15% worked in sales occupations, such as retail salespersons and store shelf stockers, clerks and order fillers.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2018 Labour Force Survey.

Some groups are more likely to be overqualified than others

Chart 24 - Proportion of youth aged 25 to 34 with a university degree working in occupations requiring high school education or less
Description for Chart 24
Proportion of youth aged 25 to 34 with a university degree working in occupations requiring high school education or less
  Percent
All men 17.7
All women 18.3
Immigrant men with a degree from outside Canada or the U.S. 34.8
Immigrant women with a degree from outside Canada or the U.S. 43.0
Source: Source: Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey.

Low-income rates among Canadians aged 25 to 30

Persons aged 15 to 30
  Percent
Total 13.1
Not residing with any family members 27.9
Aboriginal people off-reserve 21.4
With a disability 22.4

Did you know?

In 2014, 6.6% of young Canadians aged 15 to 30 reported that they had ever temporarily lived with family, friends, in their car, or anywhere else because they had nowhere else to live – a situation referred to as 'hidden' or 'concealed' homelessness.

Chart 25 - Percent of youth aged 25 to 34 in low-income for five consecutive years
Description for Chart 25
Percent of youth aged 25 to 34 in low-income for five consecutive years
  2000 2012
Note: results are based on the low income measure after tax (LIM-AT).
Sources: Statistics Canada, Canadian Income Survey, 2015; General Social Survey on Canadians' Safety (Victimization), 2014; Longitudinal Immigration Database.
Immigrants in Canada 5 to 10 years 14% 9%
Canadian-born & Immigrants in Canada more than 20 years 7% 4%

Homeownership among youth recently declined for the first time in 20 years

  • Homeownership among younger adults aged 20 to 29 remained significantly lower than for older Canadians.
  • Between 2006 and 2016, homeownership rates declined across all age groups, except for those aged 65 years old and over. This follows several decades of gradual increase. The decline was largest for younger adults, particularly over the past 5 years.
  • Coincides with other broader trends such as the rising share of youth who are living with their parents, delays in starting a family, and the increase in housing costs.
Chart 26 - Homeownership rates by selected age groups, 2006 to 2016
Description for Chart 26
Homeownership rates by selected age groups, 2006 to 2016
  2006 2011 2016
%
Sources: Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey and 2006 and 2016 Census of Population.
20 to 29 years old 34.9 37.5 33.5
30 to 64 years old 72.2 72.1 70.2
65 years old and over 72.2 73.6 74.6

One-quarter of youth with severe disability say they have been refused a job because of their condition

Chart 27 - Proportion of persons with disabilities who have been refused a job because of their condition, by age groups and severity of disability, 2012
Description for Chart 27
Proportion of persons with disabilities who said they have been refused a job because of their condition, by age group and severity of disability, 2017
Age Mild or moderate disability Severe or very severe disability
%
15 to 30 9.3 24.8
35 to 44 9.8 19.7
45 to 54 4.2 15.8
55 to 64 6.4 11
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Survey on Disability, 2017

Did you know?

887,730 youth aged 15 to 30 – or 13% – report that they have a disability (whether it be physical, sensory, cognitive, or mental health-related).

Youth aged 15 to 30 are more likely to report that they experienced discrimination

Chart 28 - Proportion of individuals who reported that they experienced discrimination in the past 5 years, 2014
Description for Chart 28
Proportion of individuals who reported that they experienced discrimination in the past 5 years, 2014
  Age 15 to 30 Age 31 and over
%
All population 18.3 11.5
Women 21.1 12.3
Visible minorities 23.4 18.6
With a disability 34.2 18.4
LGB (18+ only) 51.7 24.8
Note: Numbers for the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) population are based on respondents aged 18 and older.
Sources: Statistics Canada, 2014 General Social Survey on Canadians' Safety (Victimization).

Did you know?

In 2016, 16% of young men and 12% of young women reported experiencing at least one aspect of social isolation. Results were broadly similar across all youth and compared with older adults.

Some young men and women face serious mental health problems

  • Rates of mood disorder are highest among youth aged 15 to 30 compared to other age groups: young women in particular have the highest rate (12%).
  • Approximately 60% of youth who have experienced mood disorder have also had suicidal thoughts in their lifetime.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth aged 15 to 29.
    • 15.7 deaths per 100,000 for young men
    • 6.7 deaths per 100,000 for young women
  • Approximately half (53%) of youth with depression or suicidal thoughts have sought professional support.

Sources: Statistics Canada, 2014 Vital Statistics and 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey – Mental Health.

Indigenous youth are particularly at risk for poor mental health

  • 15.4% of off-reserve First Nations and 18.5% of Metis youth aged 15 to 30 report having a mood disorder.
  • Rates of acute care hospitalizations for intentional self-harm are high among Aboriginal youth age 15 to 30.
    • 64 per 100,000 for First Nations youth living on-reserve
    • 42 per 100,000 for First Nations youth living off-reserve
    • 20 per 100,000 for Metis youth
    • 90 per 100,000 for Inuit youth

Sources: Statistics Canada, 2015-2017 Canadian Community Health Survey, 2011 National Household Survey; and CIHI 2011-2016 Discharge Abstract Database.

High rates of obesity and physical inactivity put youth at risk for heart disease later in life

The share of youth 15-30 who are overweight or obese increased significantly since the late 1970s–from 24% to about 40% in the early 2000s. The share has remained stable over the last decade.

Youth are also not meeting physical activity guidelines–only 1 in 5 are meeting the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

Only 22% of young men and 32% of young women (aged 15-30) consume the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

These factors are potentially putting youth at risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.

Based on a new CanHeart Index which measures risk factors for heart disease including diet, weight and physical activity, approximately 1 in 4 youth aged 20-29 rank as having poor heart health.

Sources: Statistics Canada, 2017 Canadian Community Health Survey, 2014-2015 Canadian Health Measures Survey and 1978 Canadian Health Survey.

Drinking, smoking, and cannabis use by young people have generally declined...but new challenges are emerging

  • Smoking rates for both young men and women have dropped significantly since the early 2000s.
  • Heavy drinking by young men has also declined, but has increased for young women.
  • While cannabis use is still generally higher among youth compared to older Canadians, it has generally decreased for youth.

Today's youth are dealing with the challenges of new drugs and addictions

  • Opioid-related hospitalization rates rise fastest among youth.
  • Rate of hospital based opioid events increased by 27% in the last 5 years (CIHI, 2018).
  • Rates of opioid related hospitalizations are up to 5 times higher among Indigenous youth and 2 times higher among lower income households.

Opioid hospitalizations by income

Chart 29 - Rate of opioid hospitalizations (per 100,000) among youth aged 15 to 30 by level of household income, 2011-2016
Description for Chart 29
Rate of opioid hospitalizations (per 100,000) among youth aged 15 to 30 by level of household income, 2011-2016
Household income Rate of hospitalization
1 (lowest) 18.0
2 10.2
3 8.1
4 7.3
5 (highest) 9.0
Sources: Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey, 2011-2016 Discharge Abstract Database and 2011-2016 Canadian Vital Statistics Deaths databases.

Did you know?

Daily or occasional smoking dropped from 31% of young men aged 15 to 30 in 2003 to about one fifth in 2017. For young women, about 14% reported smoking in 2017 compared to 26% in 2003. Heavy drinking for males aged 15 to 30 was 31% in 2017, down from almost 40% in 2003. Heavy drinking for young women increased from 19% in 2003 to 24% in 2017.

Youth are more likely to commit crimes...but also more likely to be victims of violent crimes

Chart 30 - Rate of persons per 100,000 population accused of selected offences, by age group of accused and offence type
Description for Chart 30
Rate of persons per 100,000 population accused of selected offences, by age group of accused and offence type
Offence type Older adults aged 25 and older Young adults aged 18 to 24 Youth aged 12 to 17
Other federal statute violations 25 71 221
Drug offences 215 1,108 657
Criminal Code traffic violations 252 506 53
Other Criminal Code offences 699 1,945 918
Property crime 701 1,959 2,124
Violent crime 649 1,524 1,281
Sources: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, 2014. General Social Survey (Victimization), 2014.
Chart 31 - Rate of violent victimization per 1,000 population, by age group of victim, 2014
Description for Chart 31
Rate of violent victimization per 1,000 population, by age group of victim, 2014
Age Rate per 1,000 population
15 to 19 155
20 to 24 170
25 to 29 150
30 to 34 86
35 to 39 80
40 to 44 56
45 to 49 82
50 to 54 57
55 to 59 49
60 to 64 24
65 to 69 17
70 or older 10
Note: Violent victimization includes sexual assault, robbery and physical assault.
Source: Statistics Canada, 2014 General Social Survey – Victimization.

What's next?

Not the end of the story... let's talk

  • Canada's youth continue to be a large and important group within the Canadian population.
  • They are more diverse, educated, and connected and socially engaged than past youth, and in many ways are well positioned to succeed in today's complex global society.
  • In many ways they are very different from younger generations before them…and from their parents and grandparents today.
  • But not all young people are sharing these benefits. Some youth are unemployed or are in temporary jobs. Some are struggling with mental health challenges, addictions, and homelessness. And not everyone feels included.
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