Engaging Vancouver Youth

Vancouver Foundation’s 2017 Connect & Engage report explored patterns of community engagement in Metro Vancouver. When it comes to making friends, feeling welcome in the neighbourhood or feeling lonely, younger people are less connected than their elders. The older you get, the stronger your sense of social ties. We took a close look at Vancouver’s youngest adults – aged 18-24 – to understand why they tend to be less engaged.


Young people may seem highly social, but the data tells a different story. Young people in Metro Vancouver are more likely than older residents to say that they’re often or always lonely, that they find it difficult to make friends, or that they avoid interacting with strangers in public.

What makes youth less connected?

That lack of connection is partly because young people are less engaged with their neighbours and community. They’re much less likely to talk regularly with their neighbours, to feel welcome in their neighbourhood, or to see their current neighbourhood as a long-term commitment. Their tech usage also means they have less face-to-face interaction overall.

The path to youth engagement

If having fewer social interactions makes young people feel less connected to their community, there’s a clear path forward: boost opportunities for young people to interact face-to-face with other people and to volunteer in their communities. The good news is that, like Metro Vancouver residents overall, 46% of youth already volunteer in some form. Our challenge is to address the obstacles they face to volunteering more.


This report is based on data from Vancouver Foundation’s 2017 Connect & Engage report. All data comes from a survey that was administered by Mustel Group and completed online in either English or Chinese by 3,785 Metro Vancouver residents between June 15th and July 7th 2017. Of these, there were 223, or 6% of the respondents, who fell into the 18-24 category. The final sample was weighted to match Statistics Canada census data on the basis of gender, age, and region of residence.

For more, see vancouverfoundation.ca/connectandengage

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