Chicago ranks among top cities for youth

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 11:32 a.m. CDT

By Paul Tooher

They say that the future belongs to the young, and it turns out that the young belong in Chicagoland.

That’s the conclusion of Youthful Cities, which ranked the Chicago metro area as one of the most youthful in the world.

YouthfulCities is a global social initiative working to rank the world's top cities from the perspective of those between 15 and 29. The project ranked 25 cities and involved more than 1,500 youth participants from around the world.

It ranked metropolitan areas using 80 different indicators, including business, lifestyle entertainment and sustainability, as part of a larger initiative to challenge youth to build better cities.

According to the latest U.S. Census, 44.5 percent of Chicago’s population is 30 or younger. The median age for the city is 32.

The Windy City, ranked sixth internationally, was one of only four cities in the United States to make the list. Others included New York City, ranked third; Dallas, ranked fourth, and Los Angeles, ranked eighth.

Chicago finished among the top five in six of the 16 categories and in the top three in four categories. It finished second overall in the areas of public space and sports.

Toronto finished first overall, scoring in the top five in nine of the 16 categories. The Canadian city got high marks in the areas of diversity, digital access, youth employment, financial access, economic status, food and nightlife, music and film, fashion and art, public space and sports.

Other cities ranked among the top 10 were Berlin, ranked second; Paris, fifth; London, seventh; Tokyo, ninth and Seoul, 10th.

The survey found that Latin American and African cities scored high in civic participation, while Asian and Latin American cities scored high in environmental sustainability.

Cities in North American, Europe and Asia all score high in digital access, economic status and financial access, according to the survey.

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