Survey confirms Quebec City is hip for millennials

Date 19/02/2018

Written byTaylor Ireland

I am, by the usual definitions, a millennial, being born in the early 1980s. Though I probably identify more with Generation X, I can still relate to the interests and thinking of the current ascending group we call millennials

That’s why I found it very fascinating that a recent survey found the city I almost accidentally adopted and have grown to adore, is the overall top choice of such an influential young generation. As much as millennials may be mocked for lifestyles or attitudes, they do form a powerful force in terms of their impact on consumer and social trends and use of technology.

Millennials also are known to be, shall we say, a difficult to please slice of the population – almost 20 percent, according to census data. So, it is heartening to learn they are clearly pleased with the Quebec capital as a place to live and work. Of course, that’s been the message of this blog from the beginning.

The survey, by the Point2 Homes real estate news website, analysed current data for 85 Canadian cities in nine categories relating to quality of life and found Quebec City led the pack by a comfortable margin. Second spot went to another scenic, historic city, Victoria, British Columbia. Third place went to Guelph, Ontario. The only one of Canada’s largest metropolitan areas to make the top ten was Vancouver; Montreal and Toronto ranked 38th and 24th, respectively. Trois-Riviéres, located between Quebec City and Montreal, won ninth spot.

The nine categories for rating cities were: yearly income, average home selling price, unemployment rate, life satisfaction, crime rate, health care, climate, level of education, and percentage of millennials of the total population. The composite score determined rankings.

In awarding Quebec City the top position, Point2 Homes noted: “Quebec City might be known for its rich cultural heritage, but millennials are creating a culture of their own, bringing new creative forces outside the city’s walls. Its less polished neighbourhoods are now bursting with trendy boutiques, chic cafes and bistronomy eateries.”

That’s a bang-on description of the stunning emergence of Quebec City as, shall we say, one of the hippest places on the continent to pitch your tent. Speaking of dwellings, the affordability of housing is one of the key factors the Point2 survey tapped as a huge plus for the old city.

Quebec had the second lowest home price among the cities that made the top ten, at $278,600. Second spot Victoria is more than double that, at $620,000. Ottawa, with about the same proportion of millennials in the population as Quebec City – 20 percent – has an average home price of $425,000.

Very affordable housing is a key incentive to attract workers to a city, but the first hurdle is finding a job. In that category Quebec City has the third lowest unemployment rate in the land, at 4.9 percent; appropriately, it is just behind Levis, facing Quebec on the other side of the St. Lawrence River. (First place is Langley, British Columbia, with 4.4 percent unemployment. It also ranks last in the survey of millennial desirability.)   

Local officials use the word “crisis” to describe the crying need for workers of all types in Quebec City, from the service industry to highly skilled industrial and technology sectors.

As perhaps a reflection of the demand for workers, the city, according to the survey, has the second highest average income for the millennials among the top ten cities.

Another category that speaks volumes about what, to use millennial jargon, a “chill” place Quebec City is to live, is the low level of crime of all sorts, a topic we’ve explored in a previous blog. The statistics tell one story, but the general sense of security and well-being that citizens enjoy is hard to quantify and is something we just take for granted.

And when we say “chill” place, not only is Quebec City very culturally and aesthetically “cool” to a high millennial-pleasing degree, our nordic climate, despite its occasional extremes, is not an impediment to happiness. The city ranks in the upper third of the 85 cities surveyed for climate favorability. While it’s true not everyone is crazy about Quebec’s winter, it’s worth noting that from May to October, the satisfaction rate with the weather in the region is well over 90 percent.

Quebec City ranks high in another category of crucial importance to millennials, particularly those coming from other countries in the world. The quality and level of health care, meaning the availability and range of services, is rated in the top 10 in the country. The city is not only a major regional centre for a full array of treatments, it is also home to some of the most advanced medical research in the world, centred at Laval University.

All the above attractive aspects of living in Quebec City add up to perhaps the most significant statistic of the survey: The city ranks 13th out of the 85 cities examined in overall life satisfaction, but fifth among the top ten.

Quebec City’s top spot as a welcoming place for millennials comes as no surprise to those who have been witness to the city’s remarkably rapid transformation from conservative and backward-looking to fast-paced and cutting edge. Sure, the Point 2 Homes millennials survey is only a statistical portrait, but it confirms what residents – of all ages – feel in their hearts: Quebec is a merveilleux place to live.