Index names Paris as the cheapest place for young people to live

by Ray Clancy on November 12, 2014

When young people move abroad, the cost of living can be a major consideration. While Paris is known as the city of love, it has also been named as the most affordable city for younger people to live.

The French capital tips the list of the Youthful Cities Affordability Index compiled by Toronto-based Decode group, which ranks 25 of the world’s biggest cities according to costs associated with young people up to age 30 such as wages, rent, cinemas, fast food prices and transport costs.

france eiffel tower

Paris was named the most affordable city for young people out of 25 international cities

In second place is Toronto, then Los Angeles, Chicago and Berlin. The rest of the top 10 is Dallas, Rome, New York, Tokyo and London. The bottom five cities are Manila, Shanghai, Mexico City, Nairobi and Kinshasa.

One reason Paris came out top is that it has the highest minimum wage at €9.53 per hour, topping Berlin in second place and Rome in third. ‘Even with local cries about it being too [little], it’s hard to criticizethe wage in Paris, considering the range of minimums observed around the world,’ the report said.

Although Berlin topped four categories, it was let down by its lower minimum wage. ‘We know affordability is the top priority for young people. And the results of this index prove the important role that a fair minimum wage plays in a city’s overall affordability. Paris, the most affordable city, sits in the top spot largely because of its high base wage,’ the report says.

‘In fact, each of the top five cities in this Index have seen minimum wage become a hot button political issue recently. But a fair minimum wage is just one way municipal governments can make cities more affordable for the important youth demographic,’ it adds.

The lowest rent prices can be found in Berlin, with Paris ranked in sixth place. This may come as a surprise to many who think housing costs in Paris are astronomical, but the difference is due to subsidies that are available for students in France. Students across the country can access the APL housing subsidy whether they are a citizen of France, the European Union or otherwise.

When it comes to transport costs, Buenos Aires is the cheapest where only 2.62 hours of work at the minimum wage are needed to buy a monthly transport pass. In Paris, it’s 7.99 hours, putting the city in fourth place for transport costs.

The report also points out that young people in Paris benefit from the city’s bike sharing scheme. ‘Youth in Paris can take advantage of reduced rates for the popular, privately owned ‘Vélib’ bike sharing programme, as well as cheaper municipal public transit fares on all weekends,’ the report says.

When it comes to fast food, Paris is the second cheapest place to get a meal, with Berlin the cheapest and Chicago in third place. If you then go out to the cinema, the cheapest tickets are in Rome, with Berlin second and Paris third.

Musical entertainment also contributes to a city’s liveability. The cheapest concert tickets are found in Berlin, Paris and Rome, respectively.

The report also highlights a number of initiatives being undertaken in various countries to making living costs for young people cheaper, including students. For example, there are plans in Germany to get rid of tuition fees, making university education free for domestic and international students. In Italy, young people under 35 who can’t afford the deposit for a home can access funding to cover 5% of their first mortgage. Also in Italy, people earning under €20,000 a year get an automatic 50% reduction on public transport costs.

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