November 4, 2014

Lagos named 19th of 25 Affordable Cities for Youths

Dolapo Omidire

Lagos was named alongside Sao Paulo, Paris, Berlin, Chicago and Shanghai in a new City Affordability Index focused on the youth. Youthful Cities analysed 25 of the world’s biggest cities and compared the cost of everyday items like food, housing, entertainment, travel and public transit. Lagos was 19th, beating Sao Paulo, Nairobi and Mexico City, despite the grim housing affordability issues the country is facing. Paris came out on top with Toronto and Los Angeles following after.

Youthful Cities, a global social venture, worked with thousands of youth in 65 of the largest cities across six major global regions to build a way to measure and compare cities from a youthful perspective. Their overall goal is to create a hub to enable youth to become true partners in the development of better places to live and grow as well as becoming the go-to global resource for all things urban and youth. In this scenario youth is defined as those 15-29 years old. However, regions such as Africa, South America and Asia youth is often defined as those 15-34 years old.

The unique thing about this index is the strong focus on wages. Other indices typically compare the prices of a basket of goods and services in different global cities, but Youthful Cities rightly explains that these fail to take into account the varying levels of income present in each city. Their system is directly tied to minimum wage labour in various cities. It measures the cities based on the number of hours of minimum wage labour required to purchase different goods and services. For example it takes 10.29 hours of minimum wage labour in Lagos to purchase a movie ticket, while it takes 1 hour in Paris, 0.94 hours (56 minutes) in Berlin and 0.92 hours (55 minutes) in Rome. The results from the study showed that it would take 3,643 hours of minimum wage labour in Lagos to rent a decent furnished apartment for 1 month. Staggering, as a full time worker (Monday to Friday, 8-5) only has 180 hours in a month! Berlin required 115 hours, Chicago required 189 and Johannesburg 880 hours. This relative comparison demonstrates how big the housing problem in Nigeria is. The overall ranking is based on an aggregate of the results from all goods and services evaluated.

 The charts show the Top 3 cities and then Lagos. Here are some of the results from the study.

Youthful Cities challenged city governments to make improvements that would make cities more accommodating for youth and gave examples of where others have taken action. Here are a few.

Rome – Launched by the Ministry of Youth, those under 35 interested in homeownership but without the necessary capital for a down payment can access funding that will cover up to 5% of their first mortgage. Across Italy, €600,000 has been set aside by the federal government to fund this project over the next three years.

Paris – Affordability rules post secondary education, as students across France can access the APL housing subsidy. It’s available to all students, whether a citizen of France, the European Union or otherwise.

Berlin – Germany recently made the move to eliminate all tuition fees. This returns Germany to the list of a handful of nations, including Norway and Panama that offer university for free to domestic and international students.

See the Youthful Cities Affordability Index Report.

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