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Calgary, Feb 3 (Canadian-Media): In spite of increase in Calgary's population by more than 20 percent over the past decade, making it one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada, there has been a decline in the number of 20- to 24-year-olds by 4,400, about 5.5 percent, according to municipal census data, media reports said.
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Calgary ranked 29th out of 35 metropolitan areas when it comes to the percentage of residents aged 20 to 24, In the latest population estimates from Statistics Canada, whereas a decade ago, it ranked fifth.
In Toronto, meanwhile, it's been the opposite. The city rose to ninth in 2018, up from 20th in 2008, as young people flocked to the city.
Fewer opportunities, talent competition, lack of leisure activities and culture are a few of many reasons young adults leave calgary to pursue higher education, better jobs with better prospects and a vibrant life elsewhere.
"They don't want to work in oil and gas — either because of the environmental implications of it or they just don't really see a future in that field — and feel like if they live in Calgary, that's kind of a written-in-stone future for them. So they felt the need to move away," said Chloe Loblaw, 20, who left Calgary after high school to study health sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton.
Dr. Laura Hambley, president of Calgary Career Counselling, has heard time and time again that many young people who come to her organization in search of career advice say they would like to stay in Calgary but aren't sure it's realistic.
"They want to choose careers that are viable and where there will be employment … and we're seeing lots of stories about young people who are bright and who have worked hard at post-secondary and yet cannot get a position."
This presents an immediate problem for young Calgarians, but Hambley worries it could also lead to bigger problems down the road for Calgary as a whole.
While employers in other North American cities have been engaged in a talent hunt, Hambley says many Calgary companies have been complacent in their recruiting, especially of young people, due to the fact that the existing workers are holding onto jobs longer.
Besides job, leisure, culture, politics, educational opportunities, and diversity of culture, are the other deciding factors for the young adults to move out of Calgary.
A lot of people are moving out to Toronto as Toronto is considered as a land of opportunity, with more diverse culture. Whereas in Calgary, one feels stuck into staying in one industry.