Young adults are Calgary's only shrinking age group

Calgary's population increased by about 40,000 in the past two years with a growing number of people in every age range, except for one — young adults.

City lost more than 4,000 residents aged 20 to 24 in the past two years, many leaving in search of opportunity

21 year-old Puneet Deol is a student at the University of Calgary but figures she'll likely leave the city for better opportunities elsewhere once she graduates. (Natasha Frakes/CBC)

Calgary's population increased by about 40,000 in the past two years with a growing number of people in every age range, except for one — young adults.

The number of city residents aged 20 to 24 actually has shrunk by about 4,000 residents over that same period, according to city census data.

Puneet Deol, 21, is about to graduate from university and figures she'll join the exodus of young people, given the employment prospects she sees in Calgary at the moment.

"I don't see a point trying to stay in one spot and just trying to tough it out and trying to find an opportunity when you might not get one," she said.

Click on this interactive graph to explore Calgary's population, by age group, in the 2014 census and 2016 census, and the change over the two years:

University of Calgary sociology professor Harry Hiller said entry-level jobs are hard to come by in the current economy, making it more likely for young Calgary residents to leave, and less likely for young people to come to the city from elsewhere.

"That group of people aren't willing to take the risk to come here anymore, to the same extent, because they know that the options are not there the way they were," he said.

Young adults are also typically more mobile than their older counterparts, Hiller noted.

University of Calgary sociology professor Harry Hiller said young people have it tough finding entry-level work in the current economy. (Natasha Frakes/CBC)

"Not just because they are footloose and fancy-free but because they don't own homes," he said. "They haven't already built up pensions. They don't have children."

Ryan Liu, graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree but has since decided to enrol in a master's program after he couldn't find a job in his field.

"From what I found there weren't a lot of entry-level positions," he said.

Liu figures he will likely be moving elsewhere to find work, once he completes his graduate program.

Ryan Liu decided to pursue a master's program after he couldn't find an engineering job after graduating with his bachelor's degree. (Natasha Frakes/CBC)


With files from Natasha Frakes


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