Accelerating Pathways Research Finds Cities Can Do More to Enable Youth Economic Progress

Citi-commissioned EIU Research Provides First of its Kind Index
Comparing Efforts of 35 Cities to Contribute to Young People’s Economic
Prospects and Surveys over 5,000 Youth about their Ambitions

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A new Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) research initiative,
commissioned by the Citi Foundation, reveals that youth – while
optimistic and entrepreneurial – struggle to find employment, access to
technology, pay equity and support networks that can help them thrive in
cities around the globe. Accelerating
offers a comparative snapshot of
youth perceptions of their economic prospects in 35 cities around the
world and identifies which factors contribute most to an enabling
economic environment for young people. The research also includes an
interactive tool that can be leveraged by policy, business and civic

The research was conducted to help inform the efforts of public and
private initiatives focused on preparing urban youth to thrive in
today’s economy. It is an extension of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways
to Progress
initiative, which works to help urban youth build an
entrepreneurial mindset, acquire leadership, financial and workplace
skills and begin to engage in the formal economy through a first job.
The EIU’s Accelerating Pathways research will inform future
investments and help to further develop Citi Foundation programming.

“As the world becomes more urban, global and digital, city leaders have
an opportunity to develop new ways to catalyze economic growth and
foster a better quality of life for all their citizens,” said Brandee
McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “Investing in youth is
critical to ensuring the economic resiliency and long term
competitiveness of cities, but is often overlooked. We hope this
research strengthens and guides the discussion about programs and
policies that can best support young people’s contribution to
sustainable cities now and in the future.”

“Young people’s economic vitality and ambition are powerful growth
engines for the world’s cities,” said Leo Abruzzese, Global Director of
Public Policy at The Economist Intelligence Unit. “Cities are set to
hold 60 percent of the entire population by 2030, just as the number of
youth increases by 100 million globally. Now more than ever, cities must
prioritize this growing population segment.”

To encourage youth-centered policies and identify best practices, the
research ranks the 35 cities on their environments for young people.
This research provides a comparative snapshot of cities’ approaches, and
is intended to share learnings and identify clear opportunities for
growth as well as areas for development. Toronto finishes first in the
Index; New York is in second place, ranking first in the United States;
and Chicago finishes third in the overall Index, scoring among the top
five across all four categories assessed. Three Asian cities –
Singapore, Hong Kong and Sydney – finish in the top ten, reflecting the
importance these cities attach to engaging the next generation.
Washington DC scores among the top cities studied with regard to the
presence and effectiveness of youth networks, while London ranks most
highly for its local government support and institutional framework for

Toronto Mayor John Tory said: “Toronto is proud to be ranked as the best
city in the world for providing economic opportunities for young people.
As Mayor, a key priority for me is continuing to attract young talent
because I believe it is critical to ensuring Toronto can compete and
grow our economy. We understand the key to building a fair and
prosperous city includes connecting young people to jobs.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said: “We are committed to working
with young people to support their college and career development, and
we are proud to be recognized as the top city in the US when it comes to
youth economic empowerment. The results from The Economist Intelligence
Unit study are an affirmation of our new Center for Youth Employment’s
strategy to enable support and opportunities for our young people. We
are grateful to the Citi Foundation for making the study possible and
for its long-standing commitment to creating equal opportunities in our

Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago said: “We are proud to be ranked as one of
the leading cities for youth economic opportunities in the United
States. The study is an important reminder of the complex challenges
young people face, and the multi-faceted solutions cities around the
world are embracing.”

Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC said: “Here in the District, we
are focused on giving our youngest residents a pathway to the middle
class. We appreciate the Citi Foundation’s support as we continue to
identify ways to help our youth achieve their full potential. As the
survey results demonstrate, DC has strong networks that provide
information, resources and training to our young people.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles said: “We are always looking for
innovative ways to help our young people achieve their dreams. The
Economist Intelligence Unit study will greatly contribute to the
conversation about how to better secure the economic future of our city
by harnessing the power of our youth.”

Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP said: “Whether it is delivering
apprenticeships or helping young Londoners to devise exciting new
business ideas thorough schemes like the Low Carbon Entrepreneur Awards,
this valuable research shines a light on the vast array of work that we
are doing to ensure our young people are best able to take advantage of
London’s economic growth.”

Lucy Hughes Turnbull, AO, Chair of the Committee for Sydney, said: “I am
pleased to see Sydney in the top 10, and am particularly heartened to
see the city ranked first for quality of education and employment
opportunities for youth, acknowledging efforts to support education and
youth employment programs. This research provides us with powerful data
about the ambitions of young people in our city and offers insights into
the economic outlook of our city’s future decision-makers and leaders.
It also provides important learnings from other global cities around the
world that we can use to inform our efforts going forward.”

Luis Cueto, Madrid Deputy Mayor, said: “In Madrid we want youth to
personally and professionally thrive and succeed so that they will want
to continue to work in Madrid and serve as a source of economic growth. Accelerating
is an interesting report that demonstrates that Madrid is
within the leading group of major cities in the world in terms of public
support for youth and entrepreneurship.”

Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, the Mayor of Warsaw, said: “This research will
help with our efforts to support young entrepreneurs by giving them the
best possible base to pursue their career in their own company. Warsaw
is emerging as the regional leader in Central Europe, a big advantage of
which is a broad academic base providing well-trained and well-educated
young employees. We support entrepreneurship through partnerships with
the Warsaw’s Centre of Entrepreneurship Smolna (Centrum
Przedsiębiorczości Smolna).”

Accelerating Pathways: Youth Economic Strategy Index
and Global Youth Survey

The Index scored 35 cities on 31 indicators that contribute to young
people’s economic prospects – from city GDP growth and local government
policies to levels of youth engagement, education, employment and
health. These indicators are scored individually and the results are
aggregated into four Index categories: Government Support and
Institutional Framework for Youth; Employment and Entrepreneurship;
Education and Training; and Human and Social Capital. The study found
that while a city’s economic standing is the most significant
contributor to whether a city ranks high in terms of having created an
economically vibrant environment for youth, well thought out policy and
programs can improve the economic possibilities for youth regardless of
the underlying economic situation of the city.

The youth survey conducted by The EIU polled more than 5,000 young
people ages 18-25 on their living and financial arrangements, education,
employment and professional aspirations, the level of their engagement
in their communities and their economic outlook. The survey exposes the
optimism and aspiration of youth, but also the reality of continued
dependence on family support and the frequent need to relocate in search
of social and economic opportunities. The survey asks young people
directly what works for them, providing a unique new data set for

Key survey findings include:

  • Three-quarters of surveyed youth are somewhat or very optimistic
    about the future.
    Optimism remains high in cities where their
    prospects have been limited and despite the fact that current global unemployment
    levels among youth is roughly 3.4 times higher
    than it is for the
    rest of society.1
  • Young people are ready to build businesses. 77% of global
    survey respondents expressed an interest in working for themselves or
    starting their own business.
  • There is high mobility of young people to and within urban areas,
    and connection with mentors, jobs and new opportunities is fundamental
    to their ability to boost their economic standing
    . Nine out of ten
    respondents who moved over the prior five years to a city within their
    own country did so for employment, education or for a better life,
    according to the survey. Almost half (47%) of youth polled said they
    moved to a city within the last five years.
  • In terms of education, computer and technology skills are cited as
    the most desired by 62% of employed youth surveyed
  • The gender pay gap is prevalent among youth. Young women earn at
    least 20% less than men across the cities surveyed

Explore the interactive Index tool, report and video series of young
people around the globe at
Friend Citi on Facebook and follow @Citi and use the hashtag
#Pathways2Progress on Twitter to view the videos and join in the
discussion with those interested in youth empowerment.


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Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the
lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in
efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities
for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant
cities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach
leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our
mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more
information, visit

Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU) is the world’s leading
resource for economic and business research, forecasting and analysis.
It provides accurate and impartial intelligence for companies,
government agencies, financial institutions and academic organizations
around the globe, inspiring business leaders to act with confidence
since 1946. EIU products include its flagship Country Reports service,
providing political and economic analysis for 195 countries, and a
portfolio of subscription-based data and forecasting services. The
company also undertakes bespoke research and analysis projects on
individual markets and business sectors. More information is available

1 EIU Calculation drawing on data from the ILO Global
Employment Trends report 2014,–en/index.htm


Elizabeth Patella, 212-559-2477
Whelan, 212-554-0677