Laval youth: a portrait

Some alarming findings in pre-pandemic study of Laval’s youth population, which continues to grow while its demographic weight decreases due to an aging population overall.

Almost four in 10 Laval high school students (38.4%) have experienced at least one form of psychological, physical or sexual violence in their romantic relationships, and a similar proportion (39.3%) have been victims of violence at school or on the way to school, or of cyberbullying.

Those statistics are among the findings of a comprehensive socio-demographic study of Laval’s youth population based on pre-pandemic data.

Laval has more young residents than the entire populations of many of its neighbouring municipalities. With 88,372 people (20%) under the age of 18 – slightly higher than the whole of Quebec (18.7%) – Laval’s number of young people grew by 12.8% over the last 25 years, but their demographic weight is decreasing due to the aging population.

It’s no surprise that the city, along with the local Integrated Health and Social Services Centre (CISSS) have taken a keen interest in a statistical portrait of Laval youth aged 0 to 17. The CISSS just released its 2020 report, a vast collaborative process that included a working committee made up of community and institutional partners from Laval’s youth community.

“This is the first time that such a statistical portrait has been produced in Laval, covering all the themes of young people and their families” says the CISSS Laval’s Catherine Robichaud, who looks at inequalities in the health care system.

The report finds that 8 out of 10 Laval students obtain their secondary school diploma or qualification within 7 years after registering for secondary 1. The report also finds that one in six Laval youth live in a single-parent family and just under one in 10 (9.3%) have a mental health problem. About three in 10 high school students (30.2%) present a high level of psychological distress.

The data will help inform decision-making and the development of clinical plans in youth matters at the CISSS and help mobilize community partners around priority issues says Robichaud. “It is important to continue the collective efforts that contribute to the educational success and development of young Laval residents.”

Half (56.2%) of Laval children come from a first- or second-generation immigrant background while compared to 29.1% in Quebec, and based on an after-tax measure, 11.7% of Laval families with minor children are in low-income situations, faring better than families across Quebec as a whole (13.7%). A full 18% of Laval families with minor children are spending 30% ore more of their revenue on housing.

View the full report (in French only) at: https://www.lavalensante.com/accueil/nouvelles/news/portrait-sociodemographique-et-de-sante-2020-des-jeunes-lavallois-de-0-a-17-ans

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